Let’s See What’s Going On.
It’s that time of year again. Time for hearty soups, fleece blankets, and cozy sweatshirts. It’s also time to start up your home heating system and make your home a warm and inviting retreat from the cold outside.
But if you notice an unusual odor as your furnace kicks into high gear for the first time, it could be an indication that something is not quite right. While some very faint odors are common when a furnace cycles on for the first time after hibernating all summer, others could lead to system failure, or worse, a dangerous explosion.
So how do you know what odors to look for and when to call a professional? Here are four of the most common furnace odors and their causes.
- If you notice a dusty or smoky smell, first make sure that your heat registers are open throughout your house. For proper air circulation, at least 80% of your home’s registers should remain open. If that’s not the case, it could simply be that your furnace is burning off the dust that has accumulated on its components over the warm weather months. The dusty smell is just as likely coming from air flowing your ducts, an environment where dust loves to gather. We recommend a thorough duct cleaning every 3-4 years.
- An electrical burning smell usually means system components or wires are damaged and causing the unit to overheat. It’s best to shut the furnace off and call an HVAC contractor who will inspect the furnace and repair or replace any necessary parts.
- A musty, moldy smell is most often a sign of mold growth in your vents or on system components, typically due to moisture build-up. The mold would need to be eradicated and the source of the moisture identified and fixed in order to prevent this problem and stop the flow of mold spores into your living space.
- The most dangerous smell – a rotten egg or sulfur odor – requires immediate action, as it could mean you have a gas leak in your furnace, which could lead to an explosion. Evacuate your home immediately, no matter what time of day. Then call 911 from a safe location.
Your best move, always, is to have your heating system cleaned and inspected at the start of the heating season, strange odors or not. It’s your best bet for a season long of safe and reliable operation, not to mention lower utility costs. To schedule service and check one more thing off your “worry list”, contact Absolute Air today.
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