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What’s That Smell? How to Sniff Out Potential Furnace Issues

A Carton of Rotten Eggs

Responsible for heating your home throughout the coldest months, your gas furnace needs to be kept in tip-top shape to warm your home reliably. And while you love your furnace and the comfort it creates, you might not love the many noises and new furnace smells it can emit.

But before you toss out and ignore those strange smells as an unfortunate byproduct of your furnace, these smells could actually be a big indicator that something is wrong. And you’ll need to stay vigilant as it could pose a threat to your home.

Having serviced home furnaces for over a century, we know exactly what furnace smells can lead to larger problems. To help you identify those smells and figure out your next steps, here are the furnace smells you can’t ignore and what they mean for your home.

When Your Furnace Smells Like Burning Dust

If you’ve ever turned on an old light fixture, you likely know the smell of burning dust. When the light bulb heats up, the dust that accumulated on top of the bulb starts to burn. It’s a natural occurrence for most appliances throughout your home that haven’t been used in a while.

Because your furnace has a long off-season (i.e. summer), it’s a given that it will collect dust. If a dusty burning smell from your furnace makes itself known in your home just after turning the furnace on for the winter, it’s a normal smell that should dissipate soon. However, if the problem persists, it could mean that your air filter is dirty or clogged. A quick trip to the furnace room and replacing the furnace filter should do the trick and eliminate the smell.

If you still haven’t been able to solve the problem and eliminate that musty smell, give us a call for a furnace maintenance inspection where we’ll check, clean, and fix the issue.

If You’re Smelling Rotten Eggs

Rotten eggs is a smell that will definitely make itself known throughout your home and it is one of the few furnace smells that requires immediate action. Also compared to smelling like sulfur, a rotten egg smell in your home could be dangerous for your home and the people in it as it could be an indication of a natural gas leak coming from your gas furnace. If you smell rotten eggs, do not stay idle.

Once you smell rotten eggs or your furnace smells like gas, turn off your furnace, open your home’s windows, and evacuate the building. After you’ve reached a safe distance, call your utility company and inform them of the situation. Your utility company will arrive and perform a careful inspection of your gas lines and repair any leaks they find.

Think evacuation is an extreme measure? Just this August a natural gas leak caused an explosion at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, decimating two floors. Two people were killed from the blast and nine were left injured. Just imagine what the damage could have been if school was in session. Similar damage to your own home or family, isn’t something you should risk.

Do You Smell Burning Metal, Plastic, Rubber, or Wax?

Lastly, the smell of burning metal, rubber, or wax are some other smells you should take note of. As furnaces and their components age, they become more susceptible to damage from extreme heat. With extreme heat and prolonged use, critical furnace parts can start to melt, or even crack, causing damage that needs to be repaired.

If your furnace smells like burning plastic, candles, or rubber, turn off your furnace to prevent potential damage. In fact, your furnace might beat you to the punch and shut itself off as a protective measure when its parts get too hot. Once your furnace is no longer running, it’s time to call in your local expert to repair your furnace and replace any damaged or outdated parts.

What Else Should You Look Out for?

Furnace smells aren’t the only indication that something could be wrong with your furnace. Check out our furnace troubleshooting guide or common HVAC noises for more information on how to spot a faulty furnace.

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What’s That Smell? How to Sniff Out Potential Furnace Issues

A Carton of Rotten Eggs

Responsible for heating your home throughout the coldest months, your gas furnace needs to be kept in tip-top shape to warm your home reliably. And while you love your furnace and the comfort it creates, you might not love the many noises and new furnace smells it can emit.

But before you toss out and ignore those strange smells as an unfortunate byproduct of your furnace, these smells could actually be a big indicator that something is wrong. And you’ll need to stay vigilant as it could pose a threat to your home.

Having serviced home furnaces for over a century, we know exactly what furnace smells can lead to larger problems. To help you identify those smells and figure out your next steps, here are the furnace smells you can’t ignore and what they mean for your home.

When Your Furnace Smells Like Burning Dust

If you’ve ever turned on an old light fixture, you likely know the smell of burning dust. When the light bulb heats up, the dust that accumulated on top of the bulb starts to burn. It’s a natural occurrence for most appliances throughout your home that haven’t been used in a while.

Because your furnace has a long off-season (i.e. summer), it’s a given that it will collect dust. If a dusty burning smell from your furnace makes itself known in your home just after turning the furnace on for the winter, it’s a normal smell that should dissipate soon. However, if the problem persists, it could mean that your air filter is dirty or clogged. A quick trip to the furnace room and replacing the furnace filter should do the trick and eliminate the smell.

If you still haven’t been able to solve the problem and eliminate that musty smell, give us a call for a furnace maintenance inspection where we’ll check, clean, and fix the issue.

If You’re Smelling Rotten Eggs

Rotten eggs is a smell that will definitely make itself known throughout your home and it is one of the few furnace smells that requires immediate action. Also compared to smelling like sulfur, a rotten egg smell in your home could be dangerous for your home and the people in it as it could be an indication of a natural gas leak coming from your gas furnace. If you smell rotten eggs, do not stay idle.

Once you smell rotten eggs or your furnace smells like gas, turn off your furnace, open your home’s windows, and evacuate the building. After you’ve reached a safe distance, call your utility company and inform them of the situation. Your utility company will arrive and perform a careful inspection of your gas lines and repair any leaks they find.

Think evacuation is an extreme measure? Just this August a natural gas leak caused an explosion at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, decimating two floors. Two people were killed from the blast and nine were left injured. Just imagine what the damage could have been if school was in session. Similar damage to your own home or family, isn’t something you should risk.

Do You Smell Burning Metal, Plastic, Rubber, or Wax?

Lastly, the smell of burning metal, rubber, or wax are some other smells you should take note of. As furnaces and their components age, they become more susceptible to damage from extreme heat. With extreme heat and prolonged use, critical furnace parts can start to melt, or even crack, causing damage that needs to be repaired.

If your furnace smells like burning plastic, candles, or rubber, turn off your furnace to prevent potential damage. In fact, your furnace might beat you to the punch and shut itself off as a protective measure when its parts get too hot. Once your furnace is no longer running, it’s time to call in your local expert to repair your furnace and replace any damaged or outdated parts.

What Else Should You Look Out for?

Furnace smells aren’t the only indication that something could be wrong with your furnace. Check out our furnace troubleshooting guide or common HVAC noises for more information on how to spot a faulty furnace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

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