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What Those Strange Smells from the Furnace Might Mean

Modern furnaces don’t yet have a complex artificial intelligence system that can instantly detect when there’s a malfunction, what type it is, and what needs to be done about. They do have ways to warn a homeowner that something is going wrong, although in a indirect way so they know it’s time to call trained HVAC professionals to investigate the heater, find out what’s actually wrong, and how to repair it. One of these warning signs is strange odors coming from the vents while the furnace is running. Below is a short guide to what these odors might mean.

Leaking gas

Natural gas doesn’t have an odor, but manufacturers usually place an additive into the gas so that people will notice a leak if it occurs. This odor is sulfurous, like rotten eggs. If you detect this smell from the vents, there’s probably a gas leak. Shut off the furnace, ventilate the house, and call the gas company. Then you can call our repair technicians to fix the problem.

Overheating motors and other components

The motor that runs the blower fan may start to overheat due to dust, lack of lubrication, or age. As it overheats toward a burn-out, it will give off an acrid burning odor. This smell could also be from other rubber and metal components in the furnace that are wearing down. Whatever the source, it needs to have experts on the job right away.

Dust along the heat exchanger or in the vents

The odor of dust coming from a furnace is common when the system comes on after a period of dormancy: it’s dust burning off the heat exchanger or getting blown out the vents. Usually, this isn’t a problem—unless it persists, in which case give us a call.

Mold in the furnace air filter

Make sure that you clean (or change) the air filter monthly throughout the winter. Otherwise, you’re likely to run into a situation like this, where mold starts to grow in the filter.

Premier Indoor Comfort Systems LLC serves Waynesville, NC. Call us 7 days a week for a personalized response for your heating repair needs. If we don’t have the answer, we’ll find it for you!

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