What’s That Smell? Schedule Furnace Maintenance And Find Out!

When your furnace kicks in, you may start to get a hint of a smell and not know what it is. It’s normal to be a bit confused; in general, your furnace should be scentless, unless you’ve placed car air fresheners over your HVAC vents!

Well, that odd smell can be the sign of a major – or minor – problem. It’s important to figure out what’s going on so you can get it fixed if need be, or make some adjustments on your own if it’s minor enough.

Whatever the smell ends up being, we’re ready to come help. Just give us a call to schedule some much needed furnace maintenance.

Until then, here are some tips which might help you figure out what kind of situation you’re dealing with!

Common Furnace Smells & Their Meanings

Dusty – minor

A dusty smell is common in the fall, when you first kick your furnace in for the first time. Typically, this is a normal effect of having dust in your home; throughout the year, it settles in the HVAC vents or on the furnace itself, and either burns off or is blown into your home if it isn’t cleaned first.

If the odor lasts more than a few days, give us a call as it may be a sign of a deeper problem.

Musty – minor

A musty smell is usually caused by a buildup of mold on your furnace filter. You can solve this problem by changing or washing and drying your filter, or getting regular maintenance from us and we will change your filter for you.

Smokey – minor/major

If you have a blocked chimney, that is usually the cause of a smokey smell. The chimney needs to be inspected and cleaned annually by a professional.

Oily – minor/major

An oily smells can be caused by a clogged furnace filter. You can solve this problem by changing your filter, or we can change it for you as part of a regular furnace maintenance plan. If you change it yourself and the smell continues, call us as it may be the result of an oil leak, which can be a major problem.

Sulfury/Rotten Eggs – major

A sulfury smell is a major problem, and you need to evacuate all of the people and animals from your home immediately.

Utility companies add this smell to normally odorless natural gas used to heat homes. If you smell this gas, it means there is probably a leak which could cause a fire or explosion unexpectedly.

Once you are a safe distance from your home, call the fire department (911) immediately, followed by your utility company.

Metallic/Electrical – major

A metallic or electrical smell may be coming from hot metal, hot plastic or rubber. This can mean that components or electrical elements inside your furnace are getting too hot, or there is a short-circuit.

Immediately turn off your furnace and unplug its power source. Then call your HVAC company for an inspection and repair visit. While waiting for the HVAC company, keep an eye on your furnace as the possibility of a fire is higher due to the possible damage.

We hope this helps, and give us a call if you have no idea what smell is coming from your furnace; we’ll know what it is, and how to deal with it!