Why Does Your Furnace Create A Bad Odor?

Posted on: 11 December 2020

Have you turned on your furnace and noticed that it is producing a bad odor? If so, you're likely going to want to look into it further to figure out if something is wrong. A bad odor from an appliance that uses gas is enough to make you very concerned about the situation, and understanding what is wrong can give you some much-needed peace of mind when a situation like that happens. Here is what you need to know about this potential problem.

Why Most Furnaces Create An Burning Odor

Your furnace works by heating up a big piece of metal known as the heat exchanger and then blowing air across the surface so that the heat goes through your ductwork. What you may not be thinking about is how much dust collects on your heat exchanger when it is not being used. If it has been months since you last turned your furnace on, such as the first time during the cold-weather season, all of that dust on the heat exchanger is going to burn up. This is a normal odor that you'll likely notice when you first turn your furnace on.

How To Prevent The Burning Odor

The best way that you can prevent a burning odor when you first turn on your furnace is by regularly putting in a new air filter. Air still passes through the air handler when you run the air conditioning, and a new filter is going to catch the dust and not allow it to settle on the heat exchanger. The problem is more likely to happen when the filter is so dirty that the dust has nowhere else to go. 

When To Be Concerned About A Bad Odor

What you want to watch out for are odors that come from your furnace that are strong and persistent. This is more common when you have an electrical problem with your furnace, where there are bad wires that are actually burning. There may also be a problem where a motor is burning out and creates an odor every time the furnace is turned on. 

If you have a bad odor coming from your furnace and your furnace has been running for quite some time, then you may have a bigger problem that requires professional help. Schedule a residential heating repair with an HVAC professional to get to the bottom of what is causing the bad odor.