Often when you start up the furnace for the first time the dust particles will burn, causing a burnt odor. This is normal. However it is not normal for other odors to occur over the course of time. The longer the furnace runs it can develop problems and often signal the distress with bad odors. Air Supply Heating & Air Conditioning will share some of the odd odors that a furnace can produce and what problems are associated with these smells.
Furnace Smells Like Rotten Eggs or Sulfur
A gas fueled furnace uses natural gas which is highly flammable, which makes it dangerous. Natural gas is also efficient which is why many homes use a gas fuel furnace. Natural gases, when they leak, produce an odor. Natural gas alone doesn’t have a smell. A chemical is added to the natural gas to produce an odor to better detect leaks. The odor associated with natural gas is the scent of rotten eggs or sulfur. When there is the presence of sulfur or rotten egg smells in the home, this points to a rather dangerous situation. There is a gas leak and is often coming from the furnace. Evacuate the home immediately and contact a professional service to locate the source of the leak. If the furnace is the source, you may need to have a professional HVAC technician repair the furnace. In the meantime have the gas supply turned off and open up all of the windows to air out the gas inside the home.
Dirty Sock Syndrome
Does your home smell like dirty socks or corn chips? It is not because you haven’t done your laundry. Known as dirty sock syndrome, this odor occurs when the furnace has built up bacteria on the heat coils. During the spring or fall, the coils cool along with the outdoor temperatures. When the furnace is activated the coils will go through a heating and rapid cooling process. This cycle can allow bacteria to grow especially when moisture is present. When the furnace runs a cycle, the bacteria can blow through the system and into each room of the home leaving behind its scent. When the home suffers from dirty sock syndrome, your furnace coils need to be cleaned. An HVAC technician can come to the home and clean the coils to help rid your home of dirty sock odors.
Furnace Smells Like Burning Rubber, Plastic, Hair or Smoke
When you smell an electrical burn there is no mistaking it. Electrical burn, also known as ozone burn, has a distinct metallic smell. When you suddenly smell the scent of an electrical burn coming from the furnace, this often is due to the furnace overheating. A furnace will overheat for a number of reasons. One common reason is due to age or even dirty air filters. Some other reasons may also be due to worn down bearings or the blower motor has seized up. It is common when the furnace overheats that the circuit to the furnace will trip. When you have the tripped circuit and an electrical burn odor, start by checking the air filter and the thermostat. Make sure the thermostat isn’t in the on opposition and in the auto. If both the thermostat and air filter is not the cause of the overheating, contact an HVAC technician.
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If your furnace is the cause of bad odors in the home and you need the issue corrected, contact Air Supply Heating & Air Conditioning today.