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Where is that Smell Coming From? 5 Strange Furnace Smells and What They Mean

Where is that Smell Coming From? 5 Strange Furnace Smells and What They Mean

Furnace SmellsWhen it comes to HVAC, one of the most essential players is your central heating system. It’s working all year, not matter the temperature. During the winter it keeps your warm and over the summer it helps distribute cold air. With this much use, there are bound to be some issues. We’ve recently had a lot of homeowners calling us about strange furnace smells. That’s why we’re sharing the five most common strange furnace smells and what they mean.

Burning Dust

Perhaps the most common smell to come out of a furnace is burning dust. This specially happens when the furnace is first turned on after a season of being dormant. If you smell burning dust when you first turn on your furnace, it’s nothing to worry about. 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

Though furnace parts are made to withstand a huge amount of heat; even they can need to cool down from time to time. 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. If you smell a burning metal or plastic immediately turn off your system and call an HVAC professional to diagnose the issue.

Rotten Eggs or Sulfur

A majority of furnaces in the United States run on natural gas. This is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that natural gas can power so many appliances. The curse is that natural gas has no distinct odor and is incredibly flammable. Therefore, gas companies add a chemical to the gas to give it a distinct smell of sulfur or rotten eggs. The reason why they make it smell so bad is that natural gas can be incredibly dangerous. It’s not only flammable, but it can cause a number of serious health issues if inhaled. 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

It’s common knowledge that mold and mildew can grow in your bathroom, but what about your ductwork? Unfortunately, this 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 Bell Brothers. If you smell mold or mildew coming from your vents, it could mean fungus has found a home in your ductwork. We recommend getting this checked out as soon as possible. Prolonged exposure to mold could have negative health consequences on you and your family.

Gym Socks

Some smells carry a distinct memory with them. For us, no matter where we are, if our nose catches the smell of a gym or locker room, we pick up on it right away. If you ever realize your home smells like gym socks or a locker room, chances are it’s not the laundry piled in the corner, it could be your furnace. If you smell gym socks or something similar, it could be an indicator that 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. If your home does reek of gym socks, even if you haven’t been to the gym, it’s time to call an HVAC professional.

Are you Smelling Something Strange? Call Bell Brothers!

Is your furnace emitting some strange odors? Don’t wait, reach out to the experts at Bell Brothers today! Simply call the number at the top of the screen to speak with one of our friendly call center representatives or click here to book an appointment online. Bell Brothers happily serves our Sacramento, Stockton, Vacaville, and Bay Area communities.