What’s That Odd Smell Coming From My Furnace?

Written on: April 13, 2021

furnace odors new yorkYou may think that keeping a close eye on your furnace will help you spot problems early, long before an eventual breakdown. But the truth is that most furnace problems aren’t easy to see.

That’s why when it comes to diagnosing problems with furnace – or any other home comfort equipment, it’s important to use all your senses – including, and maybe even especially, your sense of smell.

Follow Your Nose: A Guide To 4 Common Furnace Odors

Odd smells that originate in your furnace can indicate several issues; here are four common furnace odors and what they mean for your heating equipment.

  1. A dust-burning smell is common early in the heating season as your furnace burns away accumulated dust and dirt; the smell should go away after few hours. If it doesn’t, try replacing your air filter (which you should do at the beginning of the season anyway) before you call us for service.
  2. A burning wire / electrical burning smell usually means your furnace is overheating. If your furnace is cycling (turning on and off) for no apparent reason, it could be your equipment protecting itself from a breakdown. Give your furnace a rest for a few hours; if the problem returns when you try it again, contact us for service.
  3. A mechanical burning smell (something that smells like worn out rubber or grinding metal) can indicate a serious problem (a worn out or broken part, for example) that needs immediate attention; shut your heating system down and call a heating expert right away.
  4. If you have propane-fired equipment, a rotten egg smell indicates that you have a propane gas leak; if you do, take the following actions immediately:
    • Avoid touching any equipment that could cause a spark (lights or light switches, appliances, telephones, cell phones, etc.); a spark can cause an explosion.
    • Get everyone (including pets) out of your house immediately and call 911 from a safe distance away.
    • If it is safe to do so, turn off the propane gas at the tank; if you don’t know how to do this, ask us – it’s important information to know.
    • When inspection teams say it is safe to return to your home, do so – but do not use your propane equipment again until it is inspected by a professional.

If you smell furnace trouble, the experts at Downey Energy can help! We’ll get your equipment fixed quickly and correctly so you can enjoy reliable heat the rest of the season. If your furnace needs to be replaced, we can help you there, too, with expert high efficiency heating installations in the Hudson Valley. Contact us today to learn more!