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Why Does My Furnace Smell Like Something’s Burning?

When the winter season arrives, your heating system becomes the most valuable appliance in your home to keep your warm and provide you with peace of mind. When you turn on your furnace for the first time, you expect your unit to circulate fresh air.

Instead, the circulated air has an unpleasant odor. Unusual smells are quite common, especially if your heating system hasn’t been used for months. However, there are some smells which indicate a serious issue that may require repairs from a professional HVAC technician.

The following are common smells a furnace makes and the potential causes:

  • Rotten egg smell – The smell of rotten eggs or sulfur typically indicates there is a problem with the gas supply. Since natural gas is odorless, many gas companies add mercaptan, which is a sulfur-based chemical, to make the gas easily detectable. If you notice this type of smell emanating from your furnace, you may have a gas leak. If you happen to light a match or ignite a flame, the leaking gas can cause a fire or explosion in your home. Call a professional immediately to resolve the issue.
  • Electrical or metallic smell – The smell of signed wires often means there is excessive heat within your heating unit, causing the metal components to overheat. A metallic smell may derive from a damaged rubber component. If you notice these smells and your furnace randomly turns itself off, it is a protective mechanism which goes into effect when your unit overheats. Whether you notice these smells of experience an automatic shutoff, contact a technician for repairs.
  • Oily or smoky smell – If you have an oil furnace, you will often experience this type of heater smell. However, if you smell the oil your heating unit uses, turn it off and change the oil filter. If the smell continues, contact an HVAC technician to resolve the issue.
  • Burning dust smell – This type of smell is not a sign of a serious. Since your furnace isn’t used until the winter time, it gathers dust on its surface and the components within. If the smell continues throughout an entire day, then it’s time to change the air filter.

If you notice any of the smells which indicate a problem requiring repairs, our Ontario HVAC technician at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical is ready to get the job done right the first time around and make sure your home is warm throughout the winter.

Contact us and request a free estimate today.

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