Why Does My Furnace Smell

Why does my furnace smell? Investigating 10 Unique Smells

“Ew! Why Does My Furnace Smell? Where is that odd smell coming from?”
Whether you own a gas or electric furnace, it can smell weird from time to time. Burning smells coming from vents are pretty natural in the winter season. But this isn’t something that you should ignore. Finding the cause behind odor is extremely important. These odors can be a sign of serious malfunctions.
While few odor problems can be fixed with some simple maintenance, others may need professional assistance.
Now, we will find the answer all the questions regarding weird odor coming from the furnace and when to get the right professional help.

Reasons behind furnace putting on an odor

There may be different reasons causing these smells. Smells can be different too based on the reason. Sometimes you notice your house smells like burning plastic or rubber and other times rotten egg smell!

Here are few odors your furnace can produce:

Furnace smells like burning dust

Though it seems scary, trust me, dust odor is pretty common in furnaces, especially in winters.

 Because furnaces accumulate a lot of dust throughout the year. So when you turn it on, after few months, you will get a burning smell.

Don’t worry though! this isn’t that big of an issue. The burning smell will dissipate after a few moments, approximately in 24 hours.

If it doesn’t disappear by then, you can try vacuuming the dust out or change the air filters. However, I will still suggest you ask for professional help instead of doing it by yourself.

Metallic smell in house

Metallic smells occur probably because a component in your furnace is overheating, which is pretty dangerous.

I’m warning you, do not take it lightly.

As soon as you notice a burning smell in the house, shut off your furnace immediately and call for a technician.

Rotten Eggs Smell

Noticing an odd rotten egg odor coming out of the vents? RED ALERT! Get a technician to fix it ASAP!

Usually, all utility companies put odor-indicating substances in natural gas in gas furnaces, which is odorless. Because natural gas is highly flammable, the reason why it makes it a good fuel source for appliances throughout your home.

However, natural gas can also be dangerous if inhaled, causing dizziness, nausea, and even irregular breathing.

So if your furnace is emitting a rotten egg sulfur-based smell, then it indicates possible gas leakage

This needs immediate attention. So turn off your gas furnace and call for help.

Bad Locker Room Smell

You all must be familiar with this kind of smell in schools. But coming from your furnace? Strange, isn’t it?

But believe me, your house smelling like a dirty locker room or worse rotten fish can happen when your furnace has bacteria in it.

During the spring and fall seasons, you can see it happening. Since the heating system coil cools down with outdoor temperature drops and reheats when the thermostat is turned up, it creates a constant cycle.

This constant cycle between warm and cold often results in condensation buildup, and bacteria starts to grow because of this moist environment.

The only solution to this issue is cleaning your furnace in a good and old-fashioned way. Might even try changing the air filter and replace it with new ones.

If the odor still doesn’t go away, then it’s probably your air ducts and needs an expert’s assistance.

Musty Scent

Never take the musty scents issue lightly. Mold infestations are the cause of the musty odor, also degrades the indoor air. Please, take the necessary steps as soon as possible when you start to feel it.

These odors are even injurious to health since they can cause flu-like symptoms, accompanied by sneezing and coughing.

Burning Oil

Burning oil smell can occur because of various reasons.

  1. Do not keep any plastic items (such as- toys or decorations) nearby with your furnace. Because, if you do this, then it might catch fire.
  2. As a result, a burnt plastic smell emits.
  • When the oil doesn’t pass through the burner, it may create a fog that smells like a diesel engine. Soon enough, this fog ignites, making a large flame and smoke.
  • When you fill the oil tank, keep sure not to spill anything. If you spill oil, this may give off an odor. Although, this odor will disappear in 2-3 days. But if it doesn’t, then you may have oil leakage.
  • Another cause can be a clogged air filter. You should change your air filter every three months. In case your house has any pets or excessive dust, then you must change it more often.

In case if you are still not sure what’s causing the burning oil odor. Then don’t panic, get an expert who will troubleshoot the problem for you.

Sewage Smell

Sewage issues call for a plumber to help. In cases where you notice the worst sewage water smell in your house, you got to do a quick inspection of the external vents.

Pet Smells

If you own a pet, it is common to notice the smell of pet waste or hair in your furnace register.

If the odor gets intense in time, this might need an inspection.

Burnt Electricals

Burnt electrical smell indicates overheated components. In some cases, damaged metal and rubber components too, which makes the furnace too hot.

If you detect this kind of issue, turning off your furnace is the first thing to do.

Moreover, troubleshoot the problem with an expert’s help.

New Furnace Smell

Yes, you can even get a weird odor from new furnaces that may not be as pleasant as a newly brought car. But that’s normal. However, it will go off after few days.

Last Words

A furnace can last for about 10 to 15 years if it is taken care of properly, as we both know, furnaces are a long-time companion. However, you should check on them from time to time for getting a prolonged service. Yet, if you still face any hindrance, you can always get a technician and get it fixed.

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