4 Unusual Furnace Smells And Their Causes

Posted on: 13 April 2023


If you can smell unusual odors around your furnace or through your heating vents, then your furnace might need a repair. While some smells aren't an immediate problem, some are more serious and need immediate attention.

Read on to learn more about these smells and their causes.

1. Dusty Smells

Sometimes, a furnace emits a dusty smell. This might happen when you haven't used your furnace for a while. It might be a little dusty inside. The dust will blow out when the furnace gets going, and the odor will disappear.

However, if you have a constant musty smell around your furnace or in the air coming out of your vents, then your furnace needs some work. Its filter might not work effectively because it is clogged and needs changing. Or, your ducts might need to be cleaned.

2. Organic Smells

If your furnace and vents give out a musty organic smell, then you could have a bacterial growth problem. This odor is often damp rather than dry.

Here, the coils in your furnace might have had recent condensation problems. The condensation allows bacteria, such as mold, to grow inside your unit.

This bacteria affects the quality of the air circulating around your home. It can affect your health. So, you should have your unit cleaned to get rid of the problem.

3. Burning Smells

The smell of burning around a furnace is a sign of a more serious problem. Your furnace might be overheating and using more power. This process can melt insulation around electrical wires and create a burning odor.

If you smell burning, then you should stop using your furnace and call out a repair technician as soon as you can. Left alone, this problem can start a fire.

4. Rotten Egg Smells

If you smell an odor like rotten eggs around your furnace or through your vents, then you have a potential emergency. This smell is a sign you have a gas leak in your system.

If your furnace uses natural gas, then your gas supplier might have added a safety chemical to your supply. Natural gas has no odor, so you can't tell when you have a leak. A safety chemical gives off this rotten egg smell when gas leaks into the environment so that you know you have a problem.

If you smell rotten eggs, then stop using your furnace. You need an emergency call-out to find and fix the leak.

For professional diagnosis and repairs, contact residential furnace services in your area.