Every homeowner should be alarmed by odors emanating from the furnace. If you smell any sort of odor coming from your furnace or vents, do not shrug it off as a side effect of the system's natural operation. Such odors are a sign there might be a serious underlying problem. Be proactive by reaching out to our HVAC experts for assistance. Let's take a look at furnace odors and what they typically indicate.

 

A Musty Odor

 

A damp or musty odor stemming from your furnace is an indication that a new condenser pump is required. The furnace condenser pump accumulates water from the furnace system, and should be cleaned at least once per year. Dust and water gradually builds up within the pump, spurring the formation of bacteria and mold. If you still smell the odor after cleaning the condenser pump, the odor is likely emanating from something else in your home.

 

A Burning Odor

 

This odor often occurs when the you turn up the thermostat to a higher temperature than normal. If you haven't operated your furnace in months, dust will have gathered within the combustion chamber. This dust will burn and create the burning odor. There might even be some smoke generated when the furnace is turned on. The problem is worsened if the furnace filter is dirty and rife with dust. It is also possible for brand new furnaces to generate a burning odor as the oil that prevents internal components from rusting is burned away. If the odor extends beyond the first day of use, it is a sign something else within the furnace is burning and professional attention is required.

 

An Electrical Odor

 

The vast majority of electrical odors are the result of broken furnace parts. This odor is similar to an iron that has overheated or blazing hot metal. If your furnace's air filter is dirty, it heightens the odds of electrical components becoming overheated. If furnace components are heated to the point that they malfunction, they must be replaced.

 

Generally Foul Odors

 

Generally foul odors are sometimes attributable to dirty air ducts. Have your air vents cleaned and the odor might dissipate. It must also be noted some foul odors are the result of small animals like birds and rodents that find their way into HVAC ventilation systems. The scent of the animal carcass will spread throughout your home until the remains are removed.

 

Waste Odor

 

If you smell pet urine when your furnace is in operation, take a look at the floor ventilation registers. If your pet has relieved himself by the vent, the odor will spread when the furnace operates.

 

The Odor of Gas or Rotten Eggs

 

If your home reeks of fuel/gas or rotten eggs, there is a chance it is the result of your natural gas or oil furnace burning fuel. However, if the odor stems from any part of your home away from the furnace, it is an indication there is a significant gas leak that has the potential to cause an explosion. Reach out to your fire department right away if the odor is not emanating from the furnace.