Chilly weather has arrived, and you’re ready to turn on the heat in order to keep your home warm. However, you may detect a strange odor coming from your furnace that wasn’t there before you turned it on. If you find yourself thinking, “Ew, why does my furnace smell bad?” then read on to find the answer.
It’s typical to notice a weird odor coming from your furnace, especially if you haven’t used it in a long time, but it’s crucial to distinguish between dust and debris or a significant problem.
You can always count on us if you have any concerns! Since 1946, BNG has provided heating repair, maintenance, and furnace replacement/installation services. When a furnace emits an unusual odor or you have questions about other frequent heater issues, we know what to look for.
Reasons for a Bad-Smelling Furnace
In general, if your furnace has been sitting dormant for some time, a little odor is not something to be concerned about. The following are the most typical causes of a funny-smelling furnace:
- Dirty furnace – If a furnace hasn’t been cleaned out before it’s turned on, dust and debris burn off, so if the scent is slightly dusty and burning, it’s likely the result of the dust burning off.
- Mold – If the stench coming from your heater isn’t only dusty, but also musty, like an old damp towel, there may be mold trapped in the furnace as well as dust. Mold can grow in a furnace’s filter, A/C coil, or humidifier panel, if one is installed.
- Trapped toys or an unnoticed spill – If the burning smell is similar to that of burned plastic or an electrical short, it could be the result of a toy that became stuck in your vent or a spilt food or drink near a vent. If you’ve checked your vents for foreign objects but haven’t found anything, call us right away for assistance, as the electrical odor coming from your furnace could be dangerous! (812) 858-4000
- Clogged furnace filter – An oily odor from your furnace could indicate a problem, such as a dirty filter that has to be replaced. If the smell lingers after the filter has been replaced, you should have our experienced professionals inspect your HVAC system to ensure the problem isn’t serious.
How to Fix a Bad-Smelling Furnace
To alleviate an unpleasant odor emanating from your furnace, you can perform the following general maintenance:
- Before turning on the heating unit, clean any dust or debris that has accumulated on the coils, heater exchange, or inside.
- Replace the furnace filter.
- Check for trash and dust in the ducts. You can use a vacuum cleaner to clean out your ductwork.
Smells That Indicate a Major Furnace Issue
Although most smells from a furnace do not indicate a problem, you should keep an eye out for a handful that could indicate a greater problem. The following are a few scents to be wary of and address right away:
- Electrical burning odor or metallic odor – Heat accumulation in your furnace might cause an electrical burning odor or a metallic odor. Internal components of your furnace may be damaged, such as electrical wires or worn rubber pieces, and the heat from the furnace is increasing the odor. To avoid further damage or a fire, turn off the system immediately and contact us as soon as possible.
- Smoke coming from the furnace — If your chimney or vents are blocked, you may notice smoke or hear a smoke detector go off as a result of smoke coming from the heater. The best course of action is to turn off your furnace and then call us for a professional diagnosis.
- Rotten egg odor — If you smell rotten eggs after turning on your furnace, you may have a gas leak. This could be a mild or strong odor; nevertheless, if it persists, turn off your system and contact the gas supplier. They may send someone to assist you.
- Chemical odor from furnace – Do not disregard a chemical odor in your home after turning on your heater. If you detect a formaldehyde-like odor, the heat exchanger component may be broken. This requires your rapid attention to avoid a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
We can help you!
If you smell dangerous odors when you first switch on your heater, it’s time to figure out what’s wrong and fix it as soon as possible. BNG’s skilled specialists can assist you! To learn more about our maintenance and repair services for homeowners and businesses in the Boonville, Evansville, Newburgh, and Richland areas, contact us now.