Furnaces help to keep homes warm in the colder months. The best way to ensure your safety and maximize its lifespan is to make sure the equipment stays in good condition. Furnaces need regular maintenance and repairs to avoid dangerous gas leaks and fires.
There are several reasons why your furnace may be producing a bad odor. A strong smell that persists for more than a few days may be a sign of a more serious problem. Read on to discover the reasons why your furnace may smell in order to fix and prevent the issue.
Types of Furnace Smells
1. Smoke Odor
The smell of smoke is a cause for concern and should be addressed by an HVAC professional. Chimneys can become clogged with dirt and require regular cleaning. A furnace that produces this odor may have an obstructed chimney. Smoke cannot properly pass through a blocked chimney. As a result, the smoke will travel through the furnace ducts and infiltrate the surrounding area. Call a professional for help if you notice this occurring. Shut down the furnace, turn off the gas supply line, and open your windows.
2. Burning Smell
Furnaces collect dust while they are unused during the warm months of spring and summer. When you first fire up the furnace when the weather cools down, the dust will burn and cause a slight burning smell. This type of smell is not a cause for concern and will disappear as you continue to use your furnace.
3. New Furnace Odor
When your first use a new furnace, you might notice an unpleasant odor due to the protective oil coating on the inside. The protective coating burns off and results in an odor that should only last for a day or two. This smell is common and doesn’t indicate a bigger issue.
4. Burning Plastic Smell
If your furnace smells like burning rubber or burning plastic, there may be an electrical issue present. The smell may be caused by melting plastic wire casing. A burning smell could also indicate malfunctioning electrical components, such as an overheated motor or a cracked furnace exchanger. As carbon monoxide naturally occurs during combustion, the heat exchanger safely gets rid of it. If the furnace exchanger cracks, deadly carbon monoxide can leak into your home. If you notice a plastic smell, turn off your heating system immediately and have an HVAC expert inspect your furnace.
5. Rotten Eggs Odor
This smell is one of the most concerning odors and requires immediate attention. Gas companies add this smell to natural gas to warn people when a gas leak has occurred. The smell of rotten eggs coming from your furnace indicates a dangerous gas leak. If you notice this odor continuously, turn off your furnace and the main gas supply if possible. Exposure to natural gas can cause health issues. Evacuate your home right away and contact a HVAC professional. It is also important to avoid re-entering the home until it is safe to do so.
6. Oil Odor
An oily smell coming from your furnace is not always a cause for concern. Your furnace might simply need a new filter. However, if the odor lasts more than a day, there may have been an oil leak that occurred. Have a professional take a look to verify the cause of the smell.
7. Musty Smell
Furnaces that remain unkept can accumulate mildew and mold. Mold can grow in the ductwork over time, especially if you live in a warm climate. If you notice a musty smell, mold may have been growing in it for a while. An HVAC technician can clean your air ducts to eliminate any mold.
When in doubt, call Hoot! Contact us today at 443-309-8420.