Heating and Air Conditioning Articles

Why Does My Furnace Smell Funny?

When you turn on your furnace, you want everything to go smoothly. You want to just do some simple maintenance, turn it on, and have your Worcester home be comfortable. Unfortunately, everything doesn’t always go as planned.

One issue you may run into is odd or bad smells. In some cases, this may signify a serious issue that you should call Worcester HVAC to check on and correct right away. In other cases, it may be just your furnace getting started. To help you distinguish the different smells and help you figure out how to handle each situation, Worcester HVAC in Montgomery County has compiled this brief guide to furnace odors.

Dusty or Musty Smell

During the summer while your furnace isn’t turned on, dust and other debris may collect in your air ducts or in your unit. If this is the case, the dust may burn and create a smoky smell when you first turn your furnace on. This is typically not a serious issue. You may notice this smell for the first few days your furnace is turned on, but it should fade over time.

This is not an issue you necessarily have to contact Worcester HVAC about. However, if the smell does persist, you should get it checked out. Another issue that could be causing the smell is a clogged air filter. Try cleaning or replacing your filter if it is dirty.

Smoky or Burning Oil Smell

While a musty smell is not that serious, a gas smell is typically a problem you should have Worcester HVAC check out right away. This smell can be caused by something falling into the pilot light and melting, a blocked chimney, oil passing through the burner without being burned, or spilled oil.

All of these issues can lead to different levels of danger. Try to assess how serious the problem is based on how strong the smell is. If it is faint, turn off your furnace, open a window and contact Worcester HVAC for help. If the smell is strong and appears suddenly, you may need to evacuate your home. Do not return until a professional has found the source of the odor and deemed the area safe.  In many cases, it is better to be safe, than be sorry.

Electrical or Metallic Burning Smell

If parts of your furnace are getting too hot, you may start to notice an electrical smell. Your furnace’s safety features may also cause your furnace to shut off in this case. If you smell a metallic burning smell, the rubber or metal parts of your system may be burning due to old age or wear and tear. These parts will need to be replaced.

Both smells are distinct and can lead to major problems if left unchecked. If you smell an electrical or metallic smell, turn off your furnace and contact Worcester HVAC as soon as possible.

Moldy or Dirty Clothing

The constant cycle of warm and cool air can cause condensation to form. This moisture can lead to mildew or bacteria. If mildew or bacteria collect on your system’s coils while it isn’t turned on, you may notice a dirty sock smell when you turn your system on.

This issue typically does not pose an immediate threat, but if it is left untreated, it can pose health risks. Start by changing your filter and then call Worcester HVAC to help you clean the coils and the rest of your system properly.

Rotten Eggs or Sulfur

More often than not, a rotten egg or sulfur smell signifies that there is a gas leak somewhere. Gas is highly flammable and can cause an explosion or fire. Therefore, if you notice this smell, you should be very careful and take the situation seriously.

If you are near your furnace turn it off and open the windows. Then evacuate your home and call your gas company for further assistance. Once the gas is turned off and has cleared the area, contact Worcester HVAC for help repairing or replacing your system. You can contact us through our website here: https://myhvacteam.com/contact-us/. You can also call us at 610-287-HEAT.