You’ve heard that old adage, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…” Of course, if you smell something burning, your mind will go to the worst case scenario. However, if you have just turned your furnace on for the first time in a while, a burning smell could be harmless and even expected and does not necessarily mean heater repair is needed.
Read on to find out what that smell coming from your furnace really is and what you should do about it.
With the first real bite of cold weather, most people turn on their heater. It’s not uncommon for the furnace to smell funny. The reason for this is that dust and dirt particles have settled during a season without use and the heater is burning them off. This is not uncommon, but it is a sign that your furnace is dirty and needs to be cleaned.
Is It Normal to Smell Burning
It is not uncommon for a heater to have a little bit of a burnt smell when it is turned on for the first time in a while. However, this smell is a sign that your furnace is dirty. It may also mean that you need to change the filter. An annual furnace check up and regular maintenance can prevent this smell.
If this is the reason for the smell, it should dissipate quickly. If the smell persists there may be cause for concern. You might have more than just a dirty filter, it could be completely clogged. If this smell persists beyond changing the filter, you will need to call a professional repairman.
Why Your Furnace Smells Weird
Are you still wondering “Why does my furnace smell weird?” Aside from an annual “shaking off the dust” process or a dirty filter, there are many reasons that your heating system might smell bad. You can actually tell a lot about what is going on with a furnace by how it smells.
Here are some of the problems you will find associated with specific bad smells coming from your furnace:
Burnt Plastic Smell
A burnt plastic smell can be normal for a few minutes the first time you turn on a newly installed HVAC system or furnace. In this case, the smell will go away very quickly. If the smell lingers, you will need to call for a furnace repair.
You should never have this type of smell with a furnace you use regularly. The smell of burning plastic could mean it’s overheating or that there is friction between elements within the system. You will need to have the furnace repaired by a professional.
Smells Like Rotten Eggs
A rotten egg smell is actually the smell of sulfur. The reason that you might be smelling a sulfur smell coming from your furnace is that you could be smelling mercaptan. Mercaptan is a chemical added by gas companies to natural gas and propane so that they can be smelled.
This bad smell is designed to keep you safe. If you smell a rotten egg smell, mercaptan or gas consider it an emergency. Call your gas company immediately to report your suspicion of a gas leak.
Furnace Smells Like Exhaust
If you smell something that is similar to car exhaust inside your home, odds are your furnace has issues with how it is vented. If there is a vent pipe you can check it for any type of obstruction. However, you will need to have your furnace looked at. This problem could lead to having carbon monoxide back up in your home, which is deadly.
How Do I Get Rid of the Smell
In most cases, the best way to get rid of the smell in a furnace is to change the filter. If the smell continues or if you smell an odor of burnt plastic, rotten eggs or exhaust you should schedule a furnace repair immediately.
Call Mullin Heating and Air Conditioning in Broken Arrow for Furnace Repair
Bad smells can be a sign of bigger problems. If you have a strange smell coming from your heater or need other furnace repairs, call Mullin Heating and Air Conditioning at (918) 209-3306 now!