Furnace Odors and What They Mean
A home heating system in good condition will not only operate quietly and efficiently, it will also operate without producing any odors. If you detect unusual odors coming from your heating system, don’t panic. Our cooling and heating team at Tex-Perts is happy to provide a brief description of common furnace odors in approximate order from most to least serious.
Burning and/or Smokey Odor
The odor of burning wires, plastic insulation, or other material inside the system could indicate overheating. The smell (and worse, the sight) of smoke could indicate severe overheating or even a fire. Shut the system off until the source of the odor is located by one of our professionals at Tex-Perts.
You may also notice a burning dust smell. This odor is common when heating systems are first started after being idle over the summer. Dust that accumulates on system components could get hot when the system operates and cause this smell. It will usually stop within a few cycles of the heating system.
Additionally, an electrical or ozone smell can indicate other issues. This odor signals overheating as well as problems with motors, wiring, or electrical components. It can indicate the pending failure of a blower motor. Again, the system should be shut down and the problem fixed as soon as possible.
Rotten Egg Odor
Natural gas used in heating systems is odorless, so gas companies add a chemical to cause the rotten egg smell. If the odor is faint, it may go away quickly. If the odor is strong, however, it may mean a gas leak. Open windows to provide ventilation, shut off your heating system if possible, and leave your house immediately. Be sure to call your gas company or fire department for help.
Additional Furnace Odors
It is possible for small animals such as mice to get into the heating system or ductwork and die, producing a carrion odor. The smell should go away once the dead animal is found and removed.
Learn more about furnace odors
Furnace odors, breakdowns and repairs happen every day, and usually at the most inconvenient times. Historically speaking, there is never a really good time to have furnace trouble, unless it somehow coincides with unseasonably warm weather. But, that rarely happens either. Never fear, there is hope when it comes to controlling the fate of your furnace. If you notice any sign of a furnace odor in your home or office, don’t hesitate to call our technicians at Tex-Perts Cooling & Heating to diagnose the problem.