3 Common Furnace Smells and What They Mean

woman pinches nose with fingers looks with disgust

Furnaces have been known to emit all sorts of strange smells, ranging from dust, to oil, to mold, and more. The scent coming from your furnace could indicate something as minor as a dirty filter, or as major as a gas leak – it all depends on the odor.

In this article, the heating experts at Devine Bros. go over three common furnace smells and what they could mean:

  • Dust. If you are firing up your furnace for the first time of the season (or maybe just after a long vacation), a dusty smell is normal. Dust can quickly accumulate in the burner element or air ducts of an inactive furnace; what you are smelling is simply the burning off or dispersion of this dust. The odor should subside relatively quickly.
  • Mold. Mold can grow virtually anywhere in the home – including inside your heating system. The air filter and air ducts are two of the most common places you will find mold in your furnace. Replace the air filter immediately; if the smell persists, you may need to hire a professional air duct cleaning service to remove mold that has grown inside your ducts.
  • Rotten Eggs. If you use natural gas to heat your home, the scent of rotten eggs is even more dangerous than it is unpleasant. In its native state, natural gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, which makes it nearly impossible to detect. During the refinement process, sulfur is added to the gas so that leaks can quickly be identified. So when you smell rotten eggs, you are actually smelling sulfur, which means there is probably a gas leak. Immediately turn off your furnace, evacuate the home, and contact your gas provider.

Is your heating system emitting a weird smell? Fairfield County residents can count on the home heating experts at Devine Bros. to quickly diagnose and fix the problem. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

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