What is That Smell From the Furnace?

What is That Smell From the Furnace?Under normal conditions, your furnace shouldn’t produce any odors. So, as a matter of home safety and heating efficiency, it’s important to determine the cause of the furnace smell. Here are some tips to help bring relief to your furnace and your nose!

Rotten Egg Odor

Natural gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It can also be very harmful and even deadly if you are exposed to it for too long of a period. That’s why utility companies add a harmless sulfur-containing chemical, which gives the odorless natural gas the smell of rotten eggs.

So, if the odor you smell from your furnace is like rotten eggs, you have a gas leak. Evacuate everyone from your home immediately and call the fire department.

Chemical Odors

Chemical odors from your furnace, such as the scent of formaldehyde, may indicate a cracked heat exchanger. The heat exchanger separates poisonous combustion gases from ducted indoor airflow.

Like a natural gas leak, a cracked heat exchanger poses a serious hazard to those inside your home. Turn off your furnace and call your HVAC professional immediately.

Burning or Dusty Odor

When you first start up your furnace for the heating months, you may notice a dusty or burning odor. This is typically caused by the combination of dust and heat blowing from dirty air ducts. If it doesn’t go away after a few days, call your HVAC pro for a furnace and duct evaluation.

Burning Electrical or Metallic Odors

Electrical and/or burning metallic odors are signs that your furnace is operating too hot, or that wires and/or a part are failing, such as the blower motor. If the odor is accompanied by grinding noises, the problem may be the blower motor seizing up.

Further, the blower may overheat and cause attached wires to become too hot and melt — causing additional odors. Turn off your furnace and call your HVAC pro for advice.

If you need the nose and expertise of a furnace specialist to determine and remedy the cause of the furnace smell in your Central New Jersey home, please contact Elite Air, Inc. today!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Trenton, New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnace odors and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or give us a call at 609-401-2655.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “piotr-marcinski/Shutterstock”

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    Joe Wear Joe Wear started Elite Air, Inc. in 1986, and has been providing excellent HVAC service ... More »