When your home's furnace is working as intended, there should be little to no odor coming from the unit at all. If you notice an unusual smell from your furnace when it's running, it could be an indication of a problem within the unit. Here are a few tips to help you identify and troubleshoot odd odors from your home's furnace before they turn into complete disasters.
Hot, Burning Dust Smell
If your furnace turns on and fills your house with the smell of burning dust, that's a sure sign that the furnace air filter is clogged or dirty. If you live in an area that has a lot of dust in the air, it's common for the system to fill up with dust settling in the furnace, the burner and your air ducts. Try replacing the air filter to see if that eliminates the problem. If not, you'll want to have the furnace serviced to clean it thoroughly. You may be able to avoid this problem altogether if you have the furnace cleaned in the early fall, just before you'll need to use it.
Musty, Unpleasant Odor
Any musty smells from your furnace likely mean that you have mold or mildew growing in the furnace or the air ducts. Since mold spores are known for respiratory, allergy and other health concerns, you'll want to address this right away. Have the furnace cleaned thoroughly, then add a dehumidifier to the room near where the furnace is. This will help to keep moisture at bay in the area.
If you smell natural gas or a rotten egg odor around your home, you likely have a gas leak around your furnace. Any time you suspect this to be a problem, it is essential that you leave the house and call your local emergency services as well as your furnace technician.
Hot Plastic or Chemical Odors
Chemical smells are often an indication of a foreign object in the ducts. You'll want to have the air ducts thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. If the smell persists after this, it may mean that there's something in the furnace itself. A furnace technician can do a thorough cleaning and examine the motor and burner for any signs of contamination.
Any time you smell something that's out of the ordinary for your home's furnace, it's important that you don't dismiss it. Talk with your furnace technician or Nathan's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. about how to handle emergencies, and be attentive to issues like these with your home's heating system.