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Furnace Smells - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly


Furnace Smells - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

In the winter, your furnace is most likely your most-used appliance, and it’s often overlooked until there’s an issue. With the temperatures dropping in the Midwest, by now, you’ve probably given in and turned on your furnace. It’s normal to have a weird smell come through your vents the first time you turn on your furnace each winter, but do you know what smells to have checked out by a ServiceOne professional? Whatever you do, don’t ignore any of these smells - a problem with your furnace could potentially lead to a fire in your home!

Electrical, Metallic, or Overheating Smells

These smells, like burning wires, are pretty distinct. These smells could signal that certain rubber or metal parts in the furnace are actually burning (this could be because of their age or general wear and tear).

If you smell any of these electrical, metallic, or overheating smells, turn the furnace off immediately - even if it’s cold outside and in your home - and call for a service appointment with one of our technicians.

Chemical Smell

If you smell something close to formaldehyde’s unique odor coming from your furnace, this may indicate a cracked heat exchanger, which is a very serious issue. Poisonous carbon monoxide may be seeping out of the crack into your home. Turn off the furnace and call for service immediately.

Rotten Egg Smell

This odor is most often indicative of a gas leak in your furnace. The situation is very serious and you need to take immediate steps. First, it’s dangerous to have that gas in the air of your home. Open the windows and ventilate your house. Second, call the gas company and have them shut off the gas. Third, call one of our technicians to come out and get the leak fixed so that your furnace can be used again.

Dusty Burning or Musty Smells

This is one of the most common smells that people mention when they call us for furnace repairs. If you’re turning on your furnace for the first time of the season, chances are this smell just indicates that your system is burning away any dirt or dust that’s accumulated inside. Generally, this smell doesn’t last longer than the first few hours the furnace is on.

If the dusty smell doesn’t go away or you are experiencing a musty smell (which is most likely mold on your air filter), try replacing your air filter. And, as always, note when you’ve changed it so you can mark the next replacement date on your calendar and keep up with the manufacturer’s suggested schedule.

If time and a new air filter doesn’t get rid of the smell, it would be best to call for service. It may be in need of a deep cleaning or could be a serious problem with the furnace that only one of our ServiceOne technicians could repair.

Does your furnace have one of these funky odors?

Whether it’s a major fix or a minor maintenance check, get the help you need.

Fill out our Service Request form here, or give our office a call at 402.593.1111

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