Finding the source of a strange smell in your home can be difficult – the family dog could have rolled in something unpleasant outside, a child’s forgotten lunch could be hidden under their bed, or the smell could be a sign that there is a serious malfunction with your heating system requiring a furnace service call. One of the best ways to stay safe is to inform yourself about what the most common furnace smells are and what to do if you encounter them.
Rotten Egg Smell
If you smell rotten eggs in your home – leave the house immediately and call your local utility and or emergency services for assistance. A rotten egg, garbage or sulfur smell is an indication that you have a natural gas leak, which can be very dangerous. Natural gas is odourless, but many distributors add an odourant as a precautionary measure. After you have safely exited your house and called emergency services, you will need to contact a professional heating technician for a full furnace service to find and fix the cause of the leak.
When you turn your furnace on for the first time, it can be normal to briefly smell burning dust. When not in use, dust can settle in your unit and burn away once it starts heating up and running. By this time in the season, though, furnaces have been running for a while, and this is not a normal smell. The first step is to check your air filter to see if it needs to be replaced. A clogged filter can send dust into the burners causing the unpleasant smell. If the furnace filter isn’t the problem, call for furnace service. A certified professional will be able to diagnose and fix your problem.
Melting Plastic or Overheating/Burning Smell
There is a distinct, unpleasant smell associated with melting plastic or when an electronic device is overheating. Sometimes, a heating system can overheat and force hot air to build up in your furnace, which will cause plastic components and gaskets to melt. If you smell burning plastic, turn off your heating system immediately and call for furnace service. Ignoring this smell and continuing to operate your unit could result in total malfunction and lead to costly repair bills or complete furnace replacement.
Anytime you see (or smell) a change in your heating system, it’s always a good idea to give a professional technician a call. Diagnosing and repairing a problem before it becomes serious can end up saving you a lot of money and could prevent you from having to replace your furnace much earlier than you anticipated.
HAMCO Heating & Cooling is proud to celebrate 70 years of service in the Hamilton area.
If you are in need of heating service or repair, don’t hesitate to contact us!