Five Furnace Smells and What They Mean

Have you ever turned on your furnace expecting a wave a warm air to wash over you, and end up greeted by an incredibly strange smell? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. This time of year, we usually see questions coming in about furnace smells. Because of this, we’re sharing the five most common furnace smells and what they mean.

Burning Dust

Perhaps the most common furnace smell we hear about is burning dust. The smell of burning dust, especially when you turn on your furnace for the first time in a season, is completely normal. Over a season of not being used, a lot of dust will settle on and inside your furnace. The smell is simply that dust burning off and should stop after a few hours.

A Strong Metallic or Plastic Smell

Even furnaces need to cool down from time to time. Yes, they are made to withstand extreme heat, but even furnace parts can overheat. If a strong metallic or plastic smell starts to waft around your home while the furnace is running, it could indicate that something is overheating. On the occasion that you to ever smell this in your home, the first thing you need to do is completely turn off your system. Then call an HVAC professional to look at what’s wrong.

Rotten Eggs or Sulfur

If you live in the U.S., there’s a high probability your furnace runs on natural gas. While we use natural gas to power almost everything in our homes, this substance comes with a downside. The downside being that natural gas is incredible flammable, toxic, and odorless. Because of this, gas companies add a chemical to the gas to give it a distinct smell of sulfur or rotten eggs. If you’re wondering why they chose one of the worst smells in the world, it’s for a good reason. As mentioned above, natural gas can be incredibly dangerous. It’s not only flammable, but it can cause a number of health issues. If you suddenly start to smell rotten eggs or sulfur, immediately shut of your system and call an HVAC professional to find the gas leak. Do not attempt to find it on your own.

Mold or Mildew

Mold and mildew are two of homeowners’ biggest nuisances. They can grow almost anywhere in your home, the bathroom, inside the walls, and even in your ductwork. Unfortunately, the last one is a common occurrence. If you turn on your furnace and are greeted by the distinct smell of mold or mildew, it’s time to call the experts at Moore Home Services. If the smell of mold and mildew is coming from your vents, it could mean fungus has found a home in your ductwork. We recommend calling an HVAC professional to come out and take a look at your ductwork. Prolonged exposure to mold could have negative health consequences on you and your family.

Gym Socks

We all know what the distinct smell of a gym locker room smells like. Now, imagine that scent wafting through your home. Sounds unpleasant, right? That noxious smell is an indicator of something wrong with your furnace. If you smell gym socks in your home, it could very well mean bacteria is growing on your furnace system’s coils. Between AC and furnace season, your system sees more than a few temperature changes. This could lead to condensation forming on your coils. Over time, this condensation can grow into bacteria, which causes the dirty sock smell.

Are Strange Smells Coming from Your Furnace? Call Moore Home Services!

Are you smelling anything odd coming from your vents? Then it’s time to reach out to the friendly call center representatives at Moore Home Services. We are a Diamond Certified company that serves Santa Rosa, Sonoma, the North Bay, and surround communities. Simply call the number at the top of the screen or click here to book an appointment online.