Why Your Furnace Has a Strange Smell

As the weather turns cold and you switch from cooling to heating your home, you might be worried about weird furnace smells in the air. Find out what the most common furnace smells mean and how concerned you should be about them.

The Furnace Smells Musty

Musty furnace odors almost always imply mold growth somewhere in the HVAC system. To avoid exposing your family to these microorganisms, handle this problem as quickly as possible.

A wet air filter can lead to mold, so getting rid of the smell might be as simple as getting a new filter. If that doesn't help, the AC evaporator coil mounted near the furnace may be to blame. This component collects condensation, which will sometimes trigger mold growth. You'll be better off with a professional’s help to examine and clean the evaporator coil. When all else fails, start thinking about investing in air duct cleaning. This service eliminates hidden mold, no matter where it's hiding in your ventilation.

The Furnace Smells Like Spoiled Eggs

This is one of the most worrisome furnace smells due to the fact that it probably implies a gas leak. The utility company includes a particular substance called mercaptan to the natural gas supply to make leaks easier to notice.

If you recognize a rotten egg smell close to your furnace or coming from your air ducts, shut off the heater straightaway. If you know where the main gas supply valve is located, shut that off too. Then, leave the house and dial 911, in addition to your gas company. Don’t reenter the house until a professional tells you it’s safe.

The Furnace Has a Sour Stench

If you notice a sour smell that stings your nose while close to the furnace, this could mean the heat exchanger is cracked. This vital component safely contains combustion fumes, such as carbon monoxide, so cracks could pump unsafe levels of CO gas into your home.

Carbon monoxide poisoning has the potential to be lethal, so switch off your furnace right away if you notice a sour odor. Then, call an HVAC professional for an inspection. Consider replacing your furnace if a cracked heat exchanger is responsible. For your family's safety going forward, ensure you have working CO detectors on each floor of your home.

The Furnace Smells Dusty

When you turn on the furnace for the first time each fall, you probably expect a dusty odor to show up for a few minutes. This is the smell of six months’ worth of dust burning up as the furnace wakes from its summer slumber. As long as the smell goes away within a day, 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 safely out of your home. A smoky smell could mean the flue is blocked, and now fumes are flowing back into your home. The odor can reach through the entire house, endangering your family’s health if you let it continue. So turn off the furnace and get in touch with a professional straightaway to request furnace repair.

The Furnace Smells Like It's Burning Plastic

Overheating and melting electrical components are the most likely reason for a burning plastic smell to appear. A malfunctioning fan motor is another possibility. If you don’t tackle the problem, an electrical fire may start, or your furnace could suffer from irreparable damage. Disable the heating system right away and contact an HVAC technician for help identifying and repairing this weird furnace smell.

The Furnace Has an Oily Smell

If you use an oil furnace, you might notice this odor when the oil filter becomes clogged. Try replacing it to see if that fixes the problem. If the smell lingers for more than 24 hours after completing this step, it could indicate an oil leak. You’ll need help from an HVAC specialist to fix this problem.

The Furnace Smell Resembles Sewer Odors

Sewer gas smells pretty similar to rotten eggs, so first determine the possibility of a natural gas leak. If that’s not the problem, the sewer lines could have an issue, like a dry trap or sewer leak. Pour water down your own drains, including the basement floor drain, to fill dried-up sewer traps. If the smell lingers, you should contact a sewer line repair company.

Contact Broad Ripple Service Experts for Furnace Repair

If you're still uncertain, get in touch with an HVAC technician to check and repair your furnace. At Broad Ripple Service Experts, we deliver complete diagnostic services to determine the problem before the work begins. Then, we recommend the most viable, cost-effective repairs, as well as an up-front estimate for each option. Our ACE-certified technicians can resolve just about any heating malfunction, 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 Broad Ripple Service Experts office today.

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