As the weather cools down and you switch from cooling to heating your home, you might be worried about weird furnace smells filling the air. Learn what the most common furnace smells mean and how concerned you should be about each one.
The Furnace Smells Musty
Musty furnace odors almost always indicate mold growth somewhere in the HVAC system. To avoid subjecting your family to allergy-inducing mold, tackle this problem as soon as possible.
A clogged air filter can harbor mold, so eliminating the smell might be as easy as replacing the filter. If that doesn’t work, the AC evaporator coil placed near the furnace could be to blame. This component gathers condensation, which could trigger mold growth. You’ll want a professional’s help to check and clean the evaporator coil. When all else fails, consider scheduling air duct cleaning. This service eliminates hidden mold, no matter where it’s growing in your ductwork.
The Furnace Smells Like Rotten Eggs
This is one of the most nerve-wracking furnace smells because it most likely suggests a gas leak. The utility company adds a useful 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, shut off the heater immediately. If you know where the main gas supply valve is placed, shut that off too. Then, get out of the house and dial 911, followed by your gas company. Don’t reenter the house until a professional confirms it’s safe.
The Furnace Has a Sour Stench
If you detect a sour smell that stings your nose while standing near64} the furnace, this could mean the heat exchanger is cracked. This important component contains68} combustion fumes, including carbon monoxide, so a crack could pump unsafe levels of CO gas into your home.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, so shut 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 to blame. For your health and safety going forward, make sure you have working CO detectors on all floors of your home.
The Furnace Smells Dusty
When you fire up the furnace for the first time each fall, you should expect a dusty odor to fill the house for a little while. 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 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 to the exterior. A smoky smell will sometimes mean the flue is backed up, and now fumes are backdrafting into your home. The odor may permeate the entire house, risking your family’s health if you let it continue. So shut down the furnace and contact a professional right away to request furnace repair.
The Furnace Smells Like Burning Plastic
Overheating and melting electrical components are the most common reason for a burning plastic smell to make an appearance. A failing fan motor is another possibility. If you don’t tackle the problem, an electrical fire could start, or your furnace could experience irreparable damage. Turn off the heating system immediately and call an HVAC technician for help diagnosing and repairing this weird furnace smell.
The Furnace Has an Oily Smell
If you have an oil furnace, you could detect this odor whenever the oil filter becomes clogged. Try replacing it to find out if that fixes the problem. If the smell lingers for more than a day after taking care of this step, it could indicate an oil leak. You’ll need help from an HVAC expert to address this problem.
The Furnace Reeks of Sewer Odors
Sewer gas smells quite similar to rotten eggs, so first determine the possibility of a natural gas leak. If that’s not the problem, your sewer lines could have an issue, such as a dry trap or sewer leak. Try pouring water down all your drains, including the basement floor drain, to fill dry sewer traps. If the smell lingers, you’ll need to contact a sewer line repair company.
When in doubt, call an HVAC technician to assess and repair your furnace. At Broad Ripple Service Experts, 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 every 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. For details 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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