As the weather cools down and you swap from cooling to heating your home, you might be worried about unusual furnace smells in the air. Learn about what the most common furnace smells could mean and how proactive you should be about each one.
The Furnace Smells Musty
Musty furnace odors generally indicate mold growth someplace in the HVAC system. To avoid exposing your family to allergy-inducing mold, tackle this problem right away.
A damp air filter can encourage mold, so getting rid of the smell might be as straightforward as swapping out filter. If that fails to remove the smell, the AC evaporator coil fastened near the furnace might be the root of the problem. This component gathers condensation, which will sometimes stimulate mold growth. You'll want a professional’s help to examine and clean the evaporator coil. When this still doesn't help, consider requesting air duct cleaning. This service removes hidden mold, no matter where it’s growing in your ductwork.
The Furnace Smells Like Spoiled Eggs
This is one of the most concerning furnace smells due to the fact that it most likely indicates a gas leak. The utility company includes a particular substance known as mercaptan to the natural gas supply to make leaks more easily detected.
If you recognize a rotten egg smell near your furnace or coming from your vents, switch off the heater immediately. If you know where the main gas supply valve is, shut that off too. Then, evacuate your home and contact 911, as well as your gas company. Don’t reenter the house until a professional can verify it’s safe.
The Furnace Has a Sour Stench
If you notice a sour smell that stings your nose while standing close to the furnace, this might mean the heat exchanger cracked open. This vital component safely contains combustion fumes, like carbon monoxide, so a crack could pump unsafe levels of CO gas into your home.
Carbon monoxide poisoning has the potential to be deadly, so switch off your furnace right away if you notice a sour odor. Then, reach out to an HVAC professional for an inspection. Consider replacing your furnace if a cracked heat exchanger is to blame. For your family's safety going forward, make sure you have functional CO detectors on all floors of your home.
The Furnace Smells Dusty
When you start the furnace for the first time after a while, you should expect a dusty odor to fill the house for a few minutes. This is the smell of six months’ worth of dust burning off as the furnace wakes from its summer slumber. As long as the smell disperses within 24 hours, you have nothing to worry about.
The Furnace Has a Smoky Smell
Natural gas, oil and propane furnaces are combustion appliances, so they vent fumes up and out of your home. A smoky smell can mean the flue is blocked, and now fumes are flowing back into your home. The odor may permeate the entire house, endangering your family’s health if you ignore it. So shut down the furnace and get in touch with a professional right away to arrange for repair.
The Furnace Smells Like It's Burning Plastic
Overheating and burned electrical components are the most plausible reason for a burning plastic smell to appear. A faulty fan motor is also possible. If you don’t correct the problem, an electrical fire might start, or your furnace could end up with irreparable damage. Shut off the heating system right away and contact an HVAC technician for help troubleshooting and repairing this weird furnace smell.
The Furnace Has an Oily Smell
If you use an oil furnace, you might notice this smell whenever the oil filter becomes clogged. Try replacing it to determine if that fixes the problem. If the smell remains for more than a day after taking care of this step, it may imply an oil leak. You’ll need help from an HVAC specialist to address this problem.
The Furnace Smell Resembles Sewer Odors
Sewer gas smells very similar to rotting eggs, so first eliminate the likelihood of a natural gas leak. If that’s not the issue, your sewer lines may have an issue, for example a dry trap or sewer leak. Try pouring water down all your drains, including the basement floor drain, to replenish dry sewer traps. If the smell persists, you should contact a sewer line repair company.
Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for Furnace Repair
When in doubt, contact an HVAC technician to examine and repair your furnace. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer complete diagnostic services to pinpoint the problem before the work begins. Then, we recommend the most viable, cost-effective repairs, along with an up-front estimate for each option. Our ACE-certified technicians can resolve just about any heating problem, and we back our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee for one year. To learn more about why your furnace smells bad or to request furnace repair near you, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.