Anyone who lives in Ohio understands that the furnace is an important piece of equipment. This is especially evident during the winter months, when a broken furnace may compromise the comfort of your family. Keeping your furnace well maintained should be a top priority. Occasionally, and especially without an annual service plan, you may be alerted to potential issues through the furnace smell.

There are four types of furnace smells that you should never ignore:

  1. Moldy or musty: If you smell mold or mustiness through your vents, you may have a problem with bacterial growth in your condenser pump. The pump collects water and could contain mold. The pump should be cleaned annually. If the odor persists after the pump is cleaned, you might have a mold problem elsewhere in your home.
  2. Burning: You might notice the smell of burning when you run your furnace after a period of inactivity. This is caused by burning dust that has collected in the combustion chamber. Not replacing air filters may make the problem worse. If the smell continues for more than a day, there’s something else burning, and you should call a technician to perform a proper inspection.
  3. Electrical: This odor should remind you of burning metal and often points to a mechanical issue. Furnaces are filled with wires and motors that are capable of burning out and overheating. Dirty air filters may make matters worse. Ignoring an overheating odor may lead to broken parts.
  4. Oil/gas: This furnace smell may be the most important. Oil/gas furnaces produce a slight smell of the fuel that they burn. If you smell the rotten egg odor of gas in other rooms of your house, you should immediately call the fire department. If you smell a strong oil odor away from the furnace room, you might have a leak and should request a service call.

Proper maintenance should limit instances of any furnace smell. If you have questions regarding furnace issues, contact the professionals at Stack Heating & Cooling. Our experts service the greater Cleveland area and will be happy to address any of your concerns.

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

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