What To Understand About Furnace Odors

image of a woman smelling furnace odors

With winter around the corner, homeowners are busy preparing their homes for the difficult weather. This means cleaning their roof, the drains, and their heaters. However, everything pales in comparison to the home furnace. Most people forget to maintain their furnaces during the fall season. When winter arrives, it turns out to be extremely expensive to clean and get the furnace and heater up to working condition. A single quick servicing every year is usually enough to ensure that your heater runs all through the cold season. Even so, problems do occur. What if you run your heater and start facing odd odors through the ventilation shafts? Is it dangerous and should you call in an HVAC company immediately?

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What To Understand About Furnace Odors

Furnaces need maintenance like all other mechanical devices. They tend to malfunction even with regular maintenance. Typically, when your furnace has issues, it will emit an unusual odor. In this article, we discuss some common furnace odors that you should be aware of.

Dusty Odors

dust from furnace

Is your furnace giving off a dusty smell? Nearly everything gathers dust when it’s not in use. This is true for a furnace as well. Even if you have carried out regular furnace maintenance on the machine, you will notice a dusty smell when you run the furnace or heater for the first time. We recommend that you keep your door and windows open when you turn on the heating system for the first time. It may take a maximum of two or three days for the smell to dissipate completely, However, if the smell lingers, call in a professional HVAC company immediately.

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Rotten Eggs

Does your home smell of sulfur or rotten eggs? Natural gas has no odors. However, to make users aware of leaks, gas companies add an odor to natural gas called mercaptan. The smell that they add smells like sulfur or rotten eggs. In case you notice this odor from your furnace, please turn it off immediately. Open all windows and doors and do not use any electrical devices or switches until a technician checks the HVAC system. Make sure you vacate the house or building until the furnace system is checked over completely. This is the best way that you can protect yourself.


Metallic Odor

Do you smell an electric or metallic odor?  You should always watch out for burning odors. Metallic or electric burning odors are dangerous. The most common reason that this occurs is a burnt wire or faulty insulation. Sometimes it is a blown motor. When a blown motor is the cause, it needs to be taken seriously. A blown motor is cause for concern as the motor bearings may have seized up, resulting in your engine motor heating up over time. As you continue using the engine, the plastic and wiring start to melt, resulting in the burning or metallic odor. Loose relays may also result in a burning smell. Call an HVAC technician right away.

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Change Your Air Filter

replacing HVAC filter

Sometimes a blocked air filter may cause a similar burning or metallic odor. This is due to the vent being blocked. In turn, reverse airflow puts too much load on the furnace. This situation can be remedied by changing the air filter. In some cases, if you don’t realize that the filter is blocked, a fire may break out, endangering your family. Be sure to call in a professional HVAC company to do the job.

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Burning Oil

heating oil delivery

Do you notice a burning oil smell coming from the furnace? Overheated parts and wires usually cause this odor. Dirt and grit in the heat exchanger can also be responsible for the problem. Be sure to shut down the furnace and call in the heater maintenance company immediately. This also happens when the oil burner is not properly set. A dripping leak can cause overheating and smoking. This results in the burning oil smell. Do not attempt to repair this problem yourself. You will need the help of a professional HVAC company to help you out.


When you carry out regular furnace maintenance, most of these situations are avoidable. Be sure to call in a professional HVAC system repair company right away when you do notice any of these odors. These odors can be caused by something dangerous. Therefore, it is in your best interest not to wait.


Call Wilcox Energy For Expert Heating System Services


For an experienced and professional HVAC company, be sure to contact Wilcox Energy. We can tune-up or repair your heating system so that it keeps your home nice and warm during the winter. Additionally, a heating system that is tuned up will run more efficiently. Be sure to contact a reputable HVAC company to conduct an annual heating system tune-up. We also offer heating oil delivery and propane delivery in your area.

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For more information about our HVAC services, be sure to contact Wilcox Energy. You can click here to contact us, or you can call us at (860) 399-6218 to find out more. We offer a full line of heating and cooling repairs, maintenance services, and installations.

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