The furnace in your home should not only run quietly, it should work without producing odors. If you notice unusual or unfamiliar furnace smells, it could mean a malfunctioning heating system and the danger of fire, explosion or exposure to harmful gases. If you detect any of the following odors near your furnace or in your home, be prepared to take action and call your HVAC contractor for service.
- Rotten-egg smell: Probably the most serious indicator of a furnace problem, a rotten-egg smell indicates a potentially dangerous natural gas leak. Natural gas is normally odorless, but utility companies add substances to the gas to make it noticeable. A gas leak could lead to a fire or explosion, so if you notice this smell in your home (and it’s not caused by real rotten eggs), turn off any sources of open flames or sparks if you have time, then leave your home immediately. Call your utility company and the fire department to report the leak and get more assistance.
- Burning or dusty smell: When furnaces are idle during spring and summer, dust and other material can accumulate in the ductwork, in the combustion chamber, and on system components. When you first turn the system on for the winter, it’s not uncommon to get a hot blast of dust along with the warm air. Dirty or clogged air filters can also contribute to ongoing dusty odors from your furnace. Change the filters to see if that helps. If the burning or dusty smell continues, it could indicate a serious problem within your furnace.
- Overheating smells: If system components are overheating or if electrical components are burning out, they may produce a smell similar to hot metal or an appliance that has gotten too hot. Burned-out components will prevent the furnace from operating and could be a fire hazard.
For more than five decades, Arpi’s Industries Ltd. has been a provider of professional HVAC services for customers in Calgary and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information on furnace safety and what to do if you notice unusual furnace smells coming from your heating system.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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