When the temperatures drop and the heating season begins, it’s time to fire up the furnace. Sometimes the furnace hasn’t been used for months, and it’s important to check that it’s working correctly. The best way to do this is to contact a local heating professional to service your furnace and make sure it’s ready for the heating season ahead. One thing that many homeowners notice is a strange odor when they haven’t used the furnace for a while. Let’s take a closer look at what this odor means and what you should do about it.
First, Stay Calm and Don’t Worry
The first thing that you need to do is to stay calm and not be too worried about the strange odor in your home. This is not a carbon monoxide leak because that would be odorless and it could be accompanied by headaches and/or feelings of sickness. The odor that you may be experiencing is usually characterized as a musty or a burning type of odor, and it is not dangerous. Once you understand the reason for this odor, you will realize that it’s a perfectly natural phenomenon and it’s nothing to be overly concerned about.
What is the Source of the Strange Odor?
During the Spring and Summer months, it’s not necessary to use our furnaces for heating, and they are often forgotten entirely as the temperatures rise. We usually forget to clean our furnaces during this period and overtime a layer of dust can accumulate. Eventually, there may be a thicker layer of dust inside and around the vents, registers and heat exchangers in your home. When the temperatures begin to drop most of us forget to give our furnaces and heating equipment a clean to get ready for fall and winter. The emphasis instead is placed firmly on quickly firing the furnace up and getting the heat working for the colder months ahead. When the furnace is fired up for the first time in months the layer of accumulated dust can get burned off, and this is the likely source of the musty burnt smell that may be permeating through your home.
How Long Will this Odor Last?
Typically this odor tends to disappear within a few days of use as the accumulated dust will all be eventually burnt away. If the odor persists after that initial period, it’s a good idea to get the furnace inspected by a heating professional to check that everything is working as intended. If the odor is more like a strong burning smell, this is a sure sign that something is wrong and expert help should be sought immediately.
The Importance of Regular Servicing
One way to avoid this strange odor and to get your furnace ready for the colder months is to have a regularly scheduled service for your heating equipment. This will ensure that everything is working safely, effectively and efficiently to keep your home warm.