A furnace is a complex piece of equipment that represents a significant investment in your indoor comfort. Like any piece of expensive equipment, it’s important to maintain a furnace to ensure that it works efficiently for the full duration of its lifespan. When a furnace is operating it may sometimes create a weird smell that circulates through the home. These smells are indicative of a deeper problem that needs to be addressed immediately. This is vitally important, these smells cannot be ignored as the health of your family, and the safety of your furnace is in danger. Let’s take a look at three different weird odors and what they can tell you about your furnace.
1. An Electrical Burning Smell:
A metallic or electrical burning smell similar to a motor overheating could be a warning that there is a problem with the furnace blower motor. The usual cause for this is that the bearings have worn and the furnace blower motor is starting to seize up. This can then cause the motor to use too much voltage and then it will overheat. In addition to the motor overheating, any wires that are attached to the motor can also melt and create an electrical hazard. If you smell this kind of burning smell in your home, you need to take immediate action. Turn off the furnace using the thermostat and don’t go near the furnace. Then call a trusted professional HVAC technician and have your furnace inspected before you attempt to use it again.
2. A “Rotten Egg” Odor:
A sulfuric “rotten egg” odor moving throughout the home is a very serious sign. This is a sure indicator that there is a natural gas leak in your home and it must be taken care of immediately. All your doors and windows should be opened to let the gas out and let fresh air in. The home must be evacuated, and a safe distance should be maintained. Then you need to call 911 to inform them about the situation and then call your gas company.
3. A Strange Chemical Aroma:
A chemical scent that is reminiscent of formaldehyde could indicate that there is a crack in the heat exchanger. This is a very serious issue; poisonous carbon monoxide fumes could be circulated through the ductwork in your home, presenting a significant health risk. The heat exchanger is a mechanical function in the furnace that transfers heat to the furnace plenum from the combustion chamber. The furnace should be turned off, the door and windows should be opened and the occupants evacuated. Then call a local professional HVAC specialist to inspect the furnace.
The best way to avoid these issues and many other problems that could arise from your HVAC system is to schedule a regular service. This will help to identify any potential issues before they develop into more serious problems. Prevention is always safer and less expensive when compared to an HVAC repair or equipment replacement.