As the weather gets colder and you transition from cooling to heating your home, some homeowners are worried about weird furnace smells floating in the air. Learn what the most common furnace smells could mean and how concerned you should be about them.
The Furnace Smells Musty
Musty furnace smells generally indicate mold growth someplace in the HVAC system. To avoid exposing your family to allergy-inducing mold, handle this problem right away.
A damp air filter can encourage mold, so eliminating the smell could be as easy as replacing the filter. If that fails to remove the smell, the AC evaporator coil fastened near the furnace may be the root of the problem. This component gathers condensation, which could induce mold growth. You'll want a professional’s help to examine and clean the evaporator coil. When the problem still won't go away, start thinking about investing in air duct cleaning. This service cleans away hidden mold, no matter where it’s growing in your ductwork.
The Furnace Smells Like Spoiled Eggs
This is one of the most worrisome furnace smells because it most likely suggests a gas leak. The utility company adds a particular substance called mercaptan to the natural gas supply to make leaks easier to notice.
If you notice a rotten egg smell around your furnace or out of your ductwork, switch off the heater right away. If you remember where the main gas supply valve is placed, shut that off too. Then, leave the house and contact 911, as well as your gas company. Don’t go back in 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 near the furnace, this might mean the heat exchanger has cracked. This essential component houses combustion fumes, including carbon monoxide, so a cracked heat exchanger may allow unsafe levels of CO gas into your home.
Carbon monoxide poisoning has the potential to be fatal, so shut off your furnace right away if you recognize a sour odor. Then, reach out to 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 functional CO detectors on each floor 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 appear for a few minutes. This is the smell of six months’ worth of dust burning away as the furnace wakes from its summer slumber. As long as the smell disperses 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 to the exterior. A smoky smell will sometimes mean the flue is backed up, and now fumes are settling back into your home. The odor may permeate the entire house, jeopardizing your family’s health if you let it continue. So turn off the furnace and call a professional as soon as you can to arrange for repair.
The Furnace Smell Resembles Burning Plastic
Overheating and burned electrical components are the most plausible reason for a burning plastic smell to make an appearance. A faulty fan motor is another possibility. If you don’t address the problem, an electrical fire could start, or your furnace could experience irreparable damage. Disable the heating system immediately and contact an HVAC technician for help troubleshooting and repairing this unusual furnace smell.
The Furnace Has an Oily Smell
If you have an oil furnace, you might pick up on this stench whenever the oil filter becomes blocked up. Try replacing it to see if that fixes the problem. If the smell remains for more than 24 hours after taking care of this step, it might indicate an oil leak. You should get help from an HVAC professional to address this problem.
The Furnace Smells Like Sewer Odors
Sewer gas smells pretty similar to rotting eggs, so first eliminate the likelihood of a natural gas leak. If that’s not the problem, your home's sewer lines might have an issue, such as a dry trap or sewer leak. Try pouring water down the 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 Calverley Service Experts for Furnace Repair
If you're still unsure, get in touch with an HVAC technician to check and repair your furnace. At Calverley Service Experts, we offer comprehensive 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 all options. 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 ask questions about why your furnace smells bad or to request furnace repair near you, please contact your local Calverley Service Experts office today.