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What’s That Smell Coming From My Heating System?

What’s That Smell Coming From My Heating System?

Certain scents are synonymous with fall, like freshly baked apple pie, all things pumpkin spice, and the burning smell you notice when you turn the heat on for the first time this season. If the last one has you confused, allow us to explain.

After months of inactivity, it’s not uncommon for a heating system to emit an unpleasant, burning odor the first time it’s turned on. Especially if it hasn’t yet had its annual heating tune-up. And although some odors are normal, others may be cause for concern.

Read on as we review four odors you may notice coming from your heating system or vents so you know which are common and which may be an indication of a serious problem and potentially expensive repair.

Burning Smell

As a heating system rests throughout the summer months, dust settles within the equipment as air continues to circulate throughout your forced air system. When it comes time to fire up the furnace, the accumulated layer of dust begins to burn off, resulting in a mild burning smell. The smell typically disappears within a few hours or by the next day.

Mechanical Odor

A mechanical or electrical smell can be an indication of frayed wiring or a failing motor, not uncommon with an aging system. Newer units have built-in safety features that cause an automatic system shutdown if an electrical component malfunction occurs. If yours does not, turn the system off and have it looked at by a licensed HVAC tech to prevent system failure, or worse, an electrical fire.

Fishy or Chemical Smell

An unusual chemical smell could mean you have a cracked heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is the part of the system that creates the heat. The system emits toxic gases like carbon monoxide as a byproduct during the combustion process. Manufacturers house the heat exchanger in a protective chamber to keep those poisonous fumes away from your air. However, a cracked heat exchanger can allow those gases to escape, presenting a health and safety hazard. Turn the system off and schedule a service call right away.

Sulfur or Rotten Eggs

Natural gas is odorless, so suppliers add a chemical into the gas to help homeowners detect a potential gas leak. If you notice a rotten egg smell, vacate your home immediately and contact your local gas company’s emergency hotline from a safe location.

Need Heating Services or An Annual Tune-Up?

If you notice any unusual odors coming from your system, don’t take chances. Contact Correct Temp and we’ll help you decipher whether it’s one that requires immediate attention or not. Our skilled technicians are trained to service all types and brands of heating systems, including yours.

What’s That Smell Coming From My Heating System?