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4 Furnace Odors You Should Be Aware Of

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Have you noticed a musty, sulfury, or burning smell from your furnace? Furnace odor problems can be more than an olfactory offence—they can signal serious danger. Read on to find out why your furnace smells bad, and what to do about it.

1. Burning Dust

The first few times you run your furnace each winter, you may notice a burning odor. This smell is fairly common and usually indicates that the furnace is burning through any dust that may have accumulated inside the unit since its last use.

If the odor remains persistent over the course of several uses, however, have your licensed HVAC professional perform a maintenance check. Manufacturers request that your furnace be maintained annually to keep it working at peak efficiency.

2. Rotten Eggs

If you notice a rotten egg or sulfur smell emitting from your furnace, it’s cause for serious concern. Utility companies and fuel providers put odor-causing substances in normally odorless natural gas to indicate a natural gas leak. You should first evacuate your home, then call 911, and have the fire department check your home for the source before re-entering.

3. Electrical or Overheating Smells

The smell of burning plastic is most often a sign of an issue with your furnace’s motor, wiring or overheated electronics. This is an indication of possible fire and/or internal damage. You should turn off the furnace immediately and call your licensed HVAC professional as soon as possible. He or she will be able to determine the cause of the issue and get your furnace back up and running.

4. Musty Smells

Musty odors emitting from your HVAC system can be an indication that mold and mildew may be growing somewhere inside the system. Mold can also grow in ductwork and other hard-to-reach places. Your licensed HVAC professional can help you find and resolve the problem.

Trust Your Nose

Your nose can clue you in to a furnace issue. If you smell any of the above, don’t hesitate to contact a licensed HVAC professional. Addressing these problems as soon as possible can protect yourself and your family from  serious health consequences.

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