What’s That Funny Furnace Smell?

By Four Seasons Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electric - December 22, 2014

If a furnace is working properly, it should not be creating any sort of pungent odor. Any smell that is does create is indicative of some preventable or correctable issue that you should address. Granted, some problems may be minor and only require a couple minutes of your time to fix, but some smells foreshadow larger looming problems and breakdowns. Knowing the difference is half the battle.

So, trust your senses when it comes to your furnace, if you smell something odd, don’t ignore it!

Minor Problem Furnace Odors

  • Dust Smells commonly occur when the furnace has been out of use for some time or right at the beginning of the heating season. This smell is caused by collected dust inside the unit burning away. While it is not immediately harmful for your furnace, over time this burnt dust leaves a residue. This residue can collect and damage internal components.
    • Quick Fix: To fix this issue and prevent future complications, schedule your annual Clean and Check before the first cold snap of the season.
  • Musty Smells are created by mold in the filter. If you had a particularly humid summer or your humidifier is making it too moist in your basement, mold can develop on the furnace filter.
    • Quick Fix: Just change the filter! A clean filter will immediately eliminate the smell.
  • Oil Smells are made by clogged filters. If your filter is too old and has been in operation too long, it can clog with dust, dirt, and debris.
    • Quick Fix: Try changing the filter. If the smell persists, see the Oil Smell entry below.

Major Problem Furnace Odors

Unlike the minor problems above, trained professionals will be required to correct the problems creating any of the smells below:

  • The Oil Smell did not go away? This is means that the source of the odor could be an oil leak. This is very dangerous and it is important to turn off your furnace and contact Four Seasons immediately.
  • Assuming the Smoke Smell is not caused by something ablaze inside the furnace room, a blocked chimney can cause smoke to be expelled through the ductwork.
  • Electrical Smells remind you of burnt plastic or metal. These tend to signified melted wires, burnt out motors, or otherwise malfunctioning electrical components.
  • Sulfur Smell or that “rotten egg smell” is created by an extra agent put into our natural gas which is normally odorless. Smelling it in your home and particularly near your furnace indicates a gas leak. Turn off your furnace immediately and contact Four Seasons.

Emergency Repair From Four Seasons

The best thing you can do if you sense one of these problems is immediately to contact the industry-leading professionals at Four Seasons Heating, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing. Remember, we offer 24-hour emergency repair 365 days a year with no extra charge for nights, weekends, or holidays. So, as soon as you crinkle your nose, don’t hesitate to dial the phone.

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