Strange odors coming from your appliances are rarely a good sign, and in the case of a furnace or another combustion system, it could indicate a serious problem. If your furnace has a strange smell, you can use these rules of thumb to narrow down the culprits before calling the experts.
- If your furnace is blowing dusty-smelling air, this may indicate a dust buildup in your ductwork. Musty odors can occur when the furnace is turned on for the first time after a long period of inactivity (such as the first time the furnace is turned on in the fall), but if they don’t dissipate after a few hours, you should check your air filter and possibly schedule a duct cleaning. Always have your furnace serviced once a year and be sure to notify the technician of any concerns or questions you may have regarding the musty odors.
- If a musty odor is coming through your vents, there could be mold or fungal colonies growing in your furnace filter or ductwork. You should change the filter, and check your humidifier if you have one.
- If you experience a smell like burning plastic, it’s possible that an object has fallen into the ductwork or near one of the registers – a child’s toy, for example, or a piece of plastic packaging. Inspect your ducts, vents and registers to see if there are foreign objects or spills. If you can’t find anything, you should call an HVAC expert, as this could be a serious problem with the electrical components of your furnace.
- If you smell smoke. Shut the furnace off and have the heating system insprected immediately. You may have a blocked chimney. Furnaces need proper ventilation to keep fumes from collecting in your house, and if that ventilation is obstructed, smoke can be forced back through the furnace and ductwork.
Always remember that a safe home has working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms installed on every level, and if either one goes off, you should evacuate your home and call emergency services. For furnace maintenance and repairs, call Overland Park Heating & Cooling.We’re happy to serve our neighbors in the Greater Kansas City area!
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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