Strange Furnace Smell? Know When To Call For Furnace Service
A sure sign of furnace problems is a sudden change in its operation. It could be a noise indicating a motor problem, or blowing cold air, which signifies an overheated unit. This week we’ll look at what different furnace smells can tell you about your heating system and when a smell warrants a call for professional furnace service.
Burning Dust Smell
When furnaces are first turned on for winter use, dust particles that have accumulated in the off-season burn away in the heating coils. This is completely normal and will only last a short while. What’s not normal is when the smell returns after a few months of running your unit. Most often, the culprit is a clogged air filter and the smell is a result of trapped dust particles being drawn into the burners. Swap out an old filter for a new one and the problem should be resolved. If the problem persists – there is a deeper issue requiring professional furnace service or professional deep cleaning.
If you have a humidifier, the first step is to inspect your filter for mould and replace it if necessary. Many furnaces also have condensate pumps – which drain the water created from heat production – and can be a breeding ground for mould and bacteria. Condensate pumps should be cleaned annually as part of furnace maintenance to prevent buildup.
When a furnace overheats and hot air is prevented from leaving the unit, plastic components and gaskets could start to melt. Electronic components within the heating system can also be affected and start to malfunction. If you smell any type of electrical or plastic burning smell, turn off your unit right away and call for furnace service to avoid further damage.
Sulfur or Rotten Egg Smell
If you have natural gas and smell sulfur or rotten eggs in your home, leave the house immediately and call emergency services. When natural gas undergoes incomplete combustion, the byproduct is carbon monoxide, which is odorless but very dangerous. So distributors add a chemical that smells like sulfur or “rotten eggs” to make gas leaks detectable. Never ignore this distinctive smell.
If you ever have any concerns about your home comfort system, please don’t hesitate to contact us– we’re happy to help!