Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now experiencing a strange smell? You’re not alone, because many other homeowners also have this happen at first. Let’s review what’s causing this smell, and when you can expect it to subside, as well as three other furnace smells you shouldn’t disregard.

Why Your New Furnace Smells

There are two reasons why a new furnace might stink.

Protective Finishing

Your furnace has a special finish on certain parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely gets rid of gases including carbon monoxide naturally produced during the heating process.

When your furnace operates for the first couple of times, the coating may give off a burning smell. This is standard and the smell should disperse the more your furnace heats.

To be on the safe side, you’ll want to call a heating and cooling company if the smell lingers. A burning smell that sticks around can mean the motor has overheated or there’s an electrical problem, among other issues.

Dust

Dust collects inside your furnace when it’s off in the summer. That dust will burn off when you switch on your furnace in the fall, producing a burning smell. This smell should disappear within a few minutes.

One way you can reduce or prevent this smell is by having furnace maintenance done each year. This is needed to keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty good, plus it keeps your furnace clean and ensures it will run perfectly during the upcoming heating period.

3 Other Furnace Smells You Shouldn’t Ignore

While it’s less common for a new system to require furnace repair, it happens. Here are three other scents you should look out for and what they might mean.

  1. Burning plastic or rubber. If your furnace smells like burning plastic, you might have an electrical issue. Electrical wiring is protected in plastic to avoid shocks, and this smell is an indication that heat is melting this precautionary coating. To avoid a fire, shut off your furnace as soon as possible and have it inspected out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies add sulfur to natural gas to alert you when there’s a leakage. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, turn it off as soon as possible, get out of your home and contact 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you unwell, plus it’s very flammable and explosive.
  3. Musty. If your furnace smells musty, you might have mold and mildew developing in your ductwork. We suggest having your ductwork inspected and cleaned if necessary.

Now that you are aware which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re prepared to take care of your new heater. If you’re worried about a strange odor, our Patterson & Stirling HVAC technicians can help. Give us a call at 814-308-0416 to schedule your appointment now. We provide quality, affordable furnace repair in Erie and surrounding areas.