What are those odd smells coming from my furnace?
You’re going to be relying more and more on your furnace to keep you warm and safe in the colder days ahead, and generally speaking your equipment will do its job without complaint. But sometimes, your furnace will let you know when it’s not happy – and it will often do that in the form of strange odors.
Odd smells from your furnace can indicate several problems, some more serious than others. Here are three of the most common furnace odors and what to do about them.
- Dusty/burning smell – In many cases, a dusty, burning smell coming from your furnace is quite normal, especially when you’re turning on your furnace for the first time of the season; your furnace could simply be burning away accumulated dust and dirt. The smell should stop in a few hours. If the smell persists, try replacing your air filter, which should be changed at the beginning of the season and checked one a month thereafter. If that doesn’t work, call for service.
- Electrical or metallic smells (similar to the smell of burning wire) – Electrical smells coming from your furnace are typically a sign of overheating. If your furnace is shutting periodically off for no apparent reason, it could be the work of your equipment’s own protective mechanism. A similar odor is a mechanical smell, which could indicate that rubber or metal parts are burning due to wear and tear. Either way, shut your heating system down and call for service. immediately.
- Rotten egg smell – In most cases, a rotten egg smell coming from your furnace indicates that you have a gas leak; if you do, follow these procedures immediately:
- Avoid touching any equipment that could cause a spark (lights or light switches, appliances, telephones, cell phones, etc.); a spark can cause an explosion.
- Get everyone (including pets) out of your house immediately and call 911 from a safe distance away.
- If it is safe to do so, turn off the propane gas at the tank; if you don’t know how to do this, ask us – it’s important information to know.
- When inspection teams say it is safe to return to your home, do so – but do not use your propane equipment again until it is inspected by a professional.
Having furnace trouble? We can help! Our licensed, bonded technicians will get your equipment repaired quickly and do the job right so you can enjoy reliable heating service all season long. If your heating equipment needs to be replaced, we can help you there, too, with a high-efficiency heating system installations anywhere in our service area.