What’s That Smell From the Furnace?

What's That Smell From the Furnace?Other than that first furnace smell of the season that resembles burning dust, it’s a good idea to investigate all other odors emanating from your furnace or boiler. While combustion heating systems have a strong safety record, sometimes they malfunction whose signs include tell-tale odors like:

  • Burning rubber or metallic smell. The motor in the blower won’t last forever, and this smell might indicate it’s on its last legs, whether from wear and tear or frozen bearings. Burning rubber could indicate that the wires connecting the motor to the switches could be overheating.
  • Rotten eggs or sulfur. All natural gas has the added odor rotten eggs, similar to the smell of burning sulfur. Leaking gas is a highly dangerous furnace smell because gas will explode from even the smallest spark.

    If you smell this odor near the furnace or outdoors, leave your home without turning anything on or off, turn the main gas valve off and leave the property promptly. When you’re safely away, call 911 or the emergency line for the gas company.

  • Chemical smell. An odor that smells like formaldehyde could be a sign of a cracked heat exchanger, a dangerous situation. These parts are made of metal and absorb the heat the fuel creates. As the air blows over the heat exchanger, it absorbs the heat and travels through the ductwork.

    These cracks can spew carbon monoxide (CO) into your home’s air. CO is a lethal, odorless and invisible gas. Make sure your CO detectors are working and if they sound an alarm or read exceptionally high CO levels, chances are, your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger.

  • Burning oil or smoky smell. Associated with oil-burning furnaces or boilers, a whiff of smoke or burning oil indicates a problem with these types of heating systems.

In each of these furnace smell situations, turn your system off immediately and call for a professional assessment by contacting Cool Power, LLC. We proudly offer 24/7 emergency HVAC services for the comfort and safety of Long Island homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnace smells and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 631-292-0629.

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