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Notice a Burning Smell From Your Furnace? Here’s What It Might Mean

Furnace Services

It can be concerning to realize your furnace is giving off strange smells, especially since your furnace is such an integral part of your home! If you notice your furnace giving off unpleasant smells, you might have a serious problem with your HVAC system. Keep reading to learn what these odors might mean and how you can prevent the problem from getting worse.

​Rotten Eggs Smell

If you smell rotten eggs in your home, it’s likely hydrogen sulfide, which indicates your furnace has a gas leak. While gas in the air is not dangerous on its own, when combined with an open flame, it can easily cause a fire or explosion. The best thing to do is turn off your furnace and contact a professional to find the source of the problem.

Bacteria growing in your furnace can also give off a smell similar to rotten eggs. Left untreated, bacteria growth can quickly turn into full-fledged mold or fungi. If this is the case, you’ll need to get in touch with your furnace repair company for assistance.

​Moldy, Mildewy Smell

A leaky furnace can create the perfect environment for mold and mildew. Most of the time your air filter will catch this before the smell spreads throughout your home, so clearing it up should be simple enough: just replace the air inlets and filter.

If you can’t seem to get rid of that moldy smell, try cleaning out your vents with a paste made from baking soda and water. These naturally deodorizing substances can help clear away unwanted odors.

If these options don’t work, inspect the furnace and the vents around your home for small black particles. Finding such particles is a clear sign of mold growing somewhere in your heating system. The musty smell you notice suggests that the mold is affecting your indoor air quality, which can make you and your family sick if left untreated.

Call an HVAC technician to come out and inspect your furnace and ductwork. They’ll evaluate the extent of the mold in your heating system and make recommendations for mold removal if necessary.

​Smoky or Burning Smells From a Furnace

It’s common for a furnace to smell like burning when it’s first turned on for the season or when it hasn’t been used in a while. This is typically because dust accumulates on the blower motor and starts to burn when in use. If this happens, open windows and doors throughout your home to allow fresh air inside. You should also make sure your furnace’s air filter is clean.

If the smell doesn’t go away within a few hours, turn off power to your furnace at the breaker box and call a professional. Persistent burning furnace odors can be a sign of a serious problem that needs immediate attention.

​Pet Smells

If you have pets, especially cats and dogs, your furnace may pick up their scent. Even if you use cleaning products to get rid of these animal odors, they may still linger. One solution is to invest in a deodorizing filter for your furnace; this will help cut down on unpleasant smells in your home.

Another solution is to clean the area around your floor registers. Using a vacuum cleaner or wet/dry shop vac is an easy way to get rid of this debris. Pet dander or waste can make its way from your vents to the furnace itself. Once there, the heat from the furnace can send that smell throughout your entire house.

If cleaning around your registers and replacing the furnace filter doesn’t solve the problem, give your trusted HVAC company a call. Pet smells coming from your furnace usually aren’t urgent matters, but that doesn’t mean they’re enjoyable. An HVAC company will be well-equipped to clear them out for you.

​Metallic, Oily, & Rubbery Smells

If your furnace smells like metal, oil, or rubber, it could be a sign that your furnace is overheating. This is especially true if you notice smoke coming out of the vents or your indoor air quality seems to be worsening.

These smells can result from metal particles being released into the air, which can cause serious health problems. If you smell something fishy in your furnace, shut off power immediately and call a professional for help.

Call Pearson to Solve Your Smelly Furnace Problems

Whether you have an electric heating unit, a gas furnace that smells funny, or an oil heating system with the same issue, give us a call. We’ve been in business for over 50 years and will be able to quickly assess what’s wrong and make the necessary repairs. We’re the top choice for furnace repairs in Rockford, Belvidere, Freeport, and the surrounding communities.

Give us a call at (815) 398-8312 or reach out to us on our website to schedule service.

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