5 Furnace Smells You Should Never Ignore

Furnace Smells

We are still in the midst of winter, meaning there will probably be at least a few weeks before you wind down on furnace use for the seasons. Luckily, most furnaces are well-constructed, and built to sustain your needs for months at a time without an issue. However, there are some furnace problems that may require your immediate attention. One such problem: strange odors. Keep reading about the top five furnace smells you should never ignore, and remember that you can always call A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical for all your furnace repair, installation, and maintenance needs.

If Your Furnace Is Releasing One of These 5 Smells, You May Have a Problem

  1. Rotten Eggs: If you detect a sulfuric, rotten egg-like smell coming from your furnace, it is imperative that you act immediately, as you could be dealing with a gas leak. While natural gas is extremely combustible and one of the most efficient fuel sources for a furnace to run on, it is also highly toxic when ingested. You may experience symptoms including dizziness, nausea, coughing, headaches, and fatigue if a gas leak occurs in your home. Get your family out of the house and call a professional right away if you believe your furnace may be leaking gas, and remember, do not under any circumstances light a fire, as natural gas is also a huge fire hazard.
  2. Locker Room Smell: Most of us have dealt with that locker room smell before—think about a combination of sweat and dirty socks. But what exactly would cause this smell in a furnace? You may pick up this odor coming out of your furnace due to condensation build-up. This usually happens when your thermostat is adjusted a lot, causing the coils to build up. Luckily, you can usually take care of excess condensation by simply calling a furnace technician for a cleaning.
  3. Diesel: Smelling diesel fuel coming from your furnace, like what you would put in a car? This is usually the product of an oil-based furnace burning off an excessive amount of fuel. When too much oil is put in your system, it will build up to create a fog that is highly flammable. Burning off this oil can cause your furnace to set things around it on fire if you are not paying attention, so be sure to watch out for this smell, and be careful not to put too much oil in your system if you need to refuel it.
  4. Electrical Burning: If you are smelling electrical burning in your furnace, similar to what you would smell coming from a burned wire in your wall socket, there is likely a problem with your blower motor. As this component gets older and wears down, it may begin to use too much electricity. This may in turn lead to sparking in your system, causing the internal wiring and insulation to burn. As with all burning smells, this odor should never be ignored, and if you do smell it coming out of your furnace, make sure to call a technician ASAP. Failing to do otherwise could end up being catastrophic for your furnace, if not your entire property.
  5. Dust: After your furnace goes through an extended period of disuse, it is likely to collect a significant amount of dirt and dust. When you then turn your furnace on after this period of time, and it begins to burn away that dust and debris, a musty odor may start to waft through your house. While this usually won’t cause any major system malfunctions, it isn’t great for your air quality. That’s why to avoid this issue, we suggest replacing your furnace’s filter at the top of the season and hiring a technician for an annual furnace cleaning.

To schedule your next furnace cleaning today or to request another heating service, call (503) 694-3396, or click here to send us a message online.

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