HVAC systems emit odors from time to time, primarily due to the dust that collects on the heat exchanger and air ducts after the unit has been left idle for a while. As soon as you turn on the furnace, this dust burns off, releasing odors. While it’s common for the heater to smell at the onset of winter, some smells could indicate a severe problem with your system.

What type of smells signify trouble?

Learning to identify distinct smells that signify trouble is critical. Some of the smells that should get you worried and which needs the attention of a professional include:

A Smell of Rotten Eggs

The smell of rotten eggs is quite familiar to most homeowners. When this smell emanates from your furnace, it means that there is a gas leak deep inside the unit. If your furnace smells like rotten eggs, evacuate everyone immediately and contact your gas company.

A Smell of Melting Plastic, Metal, or Rubber

If you notice the smell of plastic, metal, or rubber, it may indicate that an electrical part or motor function in your unit is getting too hot. It could also indicate a critical component of the furnace is burning. Switch off the system and call an HVAC technician.

A Furnace That Smells Like Smoke

A furnace that smells like smoke for a longer period than 24 hours should get you worried. Ideally, you need to distinguish between a smell of burning and overheating. The burning smell usually cannot last for more than 24 hours and will go away after all the dust is consumed. However, turn off the gas supply and call an HVAC technician if the smell persists.

Air Ducts That Smell Musty

If your system has large amounts of moisture, it can migrate to the air ducts and cause mold. With the rising temperatures, the burning mold will release a musty, mildew like smell. Mold in your system can expose you to respiratory problems. Call a technician to fix the problem through cleaning of the air duct systems.

All of these smells could indicate a malfunctioning furnace, and you should immediately contact an HVAC technician.

Talk to the Experts About Your Heater’s Odor

If you are experiencing an unusual odor coming from your system, call an HVAC technician immediately. At Hutchinson, we can do an accurate heating check-up and restore your unit to peak performance. Beyond heating repairs, we also offer quality heating installations to help you achieve a comfortable living space for you and your loved ones.

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