As the weather cools down and you switch from cooling to heating your home, you might be worried about weird furnace smells floating in 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 generally indicate mold growth somewhere in the HVAC system. To avoid subjecting your family to allergy-inducing mold, handle this problem as soon as possible.
A damp 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 mounted near the furnace could be the root of the problem. This component collects condensation, which could stimulate mold growth. You’ll need a professional’s help to check and clean the evaporator coil. When all else fails, consider scheduling air duct cleaning. This service cleans away hidden mold, no matter where it’s growing in your air ducts.
The Furnace Smells Like Rotten Eggs
This is one of the most concerning furnace smells since it most likely indicates a gas leak. The utility company puts in a useful substance known as mercaptan to the natural gas supply to make leaks more easily detected.
If you detect a rotten egg smell around your furnace or coming from your vents, shut off the heater immediately. If you know where the main gas supply valve is located, shut that off as well. Then, leave the house and call 911, followed by your gas company. Don’t reenter the house until a professional can verify 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 cracked open. This vital component safely contains68} combustion fumes, including carbon monoxide, so a crack could pump 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 detect a sour odor. Then, contact an HVAC professional for an inspection. Consider replacing your furnace if a cracked heat exchanger is to blame. For your family’s safety going forward, make sure you have working CO detectors on every floor of your home.
The Furnace Smells Dusty
When you start the furnace for the first time every fall, you can expect a dusty odor to appear for a brief moment. 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 clogged, and now fumes are settling back into your home. The odor may permeate the entire house, risking your family’s health if you ignore it. So switch off the furnace and call 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 come from your furnace. A failing fan motor is another common cause. If you don’t address 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 unpleasant furnace smell.
The Furnace Has an Oily Smell
If you have an oil furnace, you may notice this smell whenever the oil filter becomes clogged. Try replacing it to determine if that fixes the problem. If the smell lingers for more than a day after completing this step, it could indicate an oil leak. You’ll need help from an HVAC expert to fix this problem.
The Furnace Reeks of Sewer Odors
Sewer gas smells quite similar to rotten eggs, so first rule out the possibility of a natural gas leak. If that’s not the problem, the sewer lines could have an issue, such as a dry trap or sewer leak. Flush water down all your drains, including the basement floor drain, to fill dry sewer traps. If the smell lingers, go ahead and contact a sewer line repair company.
When in doubt, contact an HVAC technician to examine and repair your furnace. At Levy & Son Service Experts, we deliver complete diagnostic services to pinpoint the problem before repairs begin. Then, we recommend the most viable, cost-effective repairs, along with an up-front estimate for each 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 Levy & Son Service Experts office today.
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