Why Your Furnace Has a Strange Smell

As the weather cools down and you switch from cooling to heating your home, some homeowners are worried about strange furnace smells in the air. Learn about what the most common furnace smells could suggest and how concerned you should be about each one. 

The Furnace Smells Musty 

Musty furnace odors usually imply mold growth someplace in the HVAC system. To avoid subjecting your family to mold and mildew spores, tackle this problem right away. 

A clogged air filter can lead to mold, so wiping out the smell might be as simple as getting a new filter. If that fails to remove the smell, the AC evaporator coil fastened near the furnace could be the root of the problem. This component accumulates condensation, which will sometimes induce mold growth. You’ll want a professional’s help to examine and clean the evaporator coil. When all else fails, consider scheduling air duct cleaning. This service removes hidden mold, no matter where it’s hiding in your ventilation. 

The Furnace Smells Like Spoiled Eggs 

This is one of the most nerve-wracking furnace smells since it frequently implies a gas leak. The utility company includes a special substance called mercaptan to the natural gas supply to make leaks easier to detect. 

If you notice a rotten egg smell near your furnace or out of your ductwork, shut off the heater straightaway. If you remember where the main gas supply valve is placed, shut that off also. Then, leave the house and dial 911, in addition to your gas company. Don’t go back in the house until a professional tells you it’s safe. 

The Furnace Has a Sour Stench 

If you detect a sour smell that stings your nose while close to64} the furnace, this may mean the heat exchanger is cracked. This essential component houses68} combustion fumes, like carbon monoxide, so a cracked heat exchanger could pump unsafe levels of CO gas into your home. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, so turn off your furnace immediately if you notice a sour odor. Then, contact an HVAC professional for an inspection. Consider replacing your furnace if a cracked heat exchanger is responsible. For your continued safety going forward, make sure you have reliable CO detectors on all floors of your home. 

The Furnace Smells Dusty 

When you fire up the furnace for the first time every 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 up as the furnace wakes from its summer slumber. As long as the smell dissipates within 24 hours, you don’t have anything 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 will sometimes mean the flue is clogged, and now fumes are flowing back into your home. The odor might eventually reach the entire house, jeopardizing your family’s health if you neglect it. So turn off the furnace and get in touch with a professional right away to arrange for repair. 

The Furnace Smell Resembles Burning Plastic 

Overheating and burned electrical components are the most common reason for a burning plastic smell to appear. A malfunctioning fan motor is another common cause. If you don’t correct 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 unusual furnace smell. 

The Furnace Has an Oily Smell 

If you use an oil furnace, you might detect this smell when the oil filter becomes clogged. Try replacing it to find out if that resolves the problem. If the smell remains for more than 24 hours after completing this step, it might imply an oil leak. You’ll need help from an HVAC specialist to address this problem. 

The Furnace Smells Like Sewer Odors 

Sewer gas smells pretty similar to rotting eggs, so first determine the likelihood of a natural gas leak. If that’s not the problem, your 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 refresh dry sewer traps. If the smell persists, you should contact a sewer line repair company. 

Contact Winnipeg Supply Service Experts for Furnace Repair 

When in doubt, contact an HVAC technician to check and repair your furnace. At Winnipeg Supply Service Experts, we deliver complete diagnostic services to identify the problem before we figure out the best solution. Then, we recommend the most viable, cost-effective repairs, alongside an up-front estimate for every option. Our ACE-certified technicians can handle just about any heating repair, 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 Winnipeg Supply Service Experts office today. 

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