Foul Furnace Odors: Some Possible Sources

In general, you shouldn’t smell any furnace odors during normal system operation. However, occasions may arise when a malfunction leads to unusual odors emanating from your heating system. When that happens, you need to know how to respond, and quickly. Because furnaces operate using either widely available natural gas or oil, the explosive nature of these fuels should give you cause for concern.

  • Burning furnace odors – When you fire up the furnace at the start of the season, you may notice a slight or strong burning odor as the furnace burns off dust buildup. This smell should continue for a short while, and then fade completely. If it continues, it may indicate a serious problem within the furnace. Call an expert for assistance.
  • Smokey furnace odors – The furnace and ducts in your home were likely designed for a specific airflow. Closing off more than 20 percent of the registers in the home can create an imbalance, and put undue pressure on the furnace, which can lead to a smoky smell. If you notice the smell of smoke around the furnace, contact your local HVAC contractor immediately.
  • Burning rubber smells – If the motor wears out, you may notice the smell of burning rubber or fried electrical components. Alternatively, when the lubrication in the motor’s bearings wears out, you may notice a burning odor. Contact an HVAC technician, who will lubricate the bearings and inspect the system.

Other furnace odors also indicate serious system problems and can pose a significant hazard to you and your loved ones. Dirty burners that give off the smell of smoke or an overheating furnace due to a clogged air filter, and any other unusual furnace smell, indicate a malfunctioning furnace. While furnace odors put home occupants at risk, they also mean that your furnace probably requires serious, costly repairs. To avoid furnace problems as much as possible, be sure to schedule annual maintenance for the system every fall.

For more information about what furnace odors could mean, contact Aladdin Heating & Cooling today! We’ve served homeowners in Dearborn, Lake Orion, St. Clair Shores since 1945.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about furnace odors and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Aladdin Heating services Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Southfield, Oak Park, Ferndale, Beverly Hills, Berkley, Royal Oak, Birmingham, Bloomfield Twp., Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Madison Heights, Clawson, Sterling Heights, Warren, Troy, St. Clair Shores, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, Detroit, Utica, Shelby Twp., Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Lake Orion, Oxford, and Clarkston.

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