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Why Does My Heater Smell Weird?

We are getting into that time of year once again where heaters are turned on because the outside weather is starting to cool off. No one wants to admit that it's getting cold again because it feels like Summer only lasted 2 days but here we are in September.

So you probably have smelt that weird smell that comes from the furnace when the heat has been turned on for the first time that year. What is that? It's actually dust being burnt off. The dust has settled on the heat exchanger, burner, and the other heating components creating an odd smell. That burning smell shouldn't last more than a few hours but if it's longer that's when you should begin to be concerned.

There are some scents of heaters that you should be aware of. If you're smelling an electrical burning odor that could be the cause of overheated blower motor. If you're furnace is up to date, it should hopefully shut off when it begins to overheat but in some cases that doesn't happen. But a more than likely issue with this smell is a clogged air filter which is an easy fix by taking it out, rinsing it off and letting it dry completely and then replacing it.

Another possible scent is burning plastic. Now that's a weird smelling one and you will instantly know it when you smell it for the very reason you've probably smelt it before. And honestly the main cause of this is toys getting into the furnace somehow. If that's not the case there could be other reasons but when you smell this, shut off the furnace and try to locate the smell and if you can't, then call your furnace technician right away.

The next scent is only if you have an oil furnace but that's a smoky or oily smell. And the steps you need to take to fix this include: shutting off your heater and changing the oil filter. Seems simple enough but if you're still smelling that smoky or oily smell, then contact an HVAC professional to figure out what's really the problem.

Last but most certainly not least comes the smell of gunpowder. It's very close to a burning scent but yet means something much different! This could be the result of a fried circuit board or fan motor. Do not continue to run your furnace if this is what you're smelling. Instead contact a professional to get the problem diagnosed immediately and get it fixed!

But in a reality, if you smell dust for the first hour or two, don't worry that's very normal and nothing to worry about. But when you start smelling anything else, put up your guard and contact someone as soon as you can. Breathing in fumes is not only bad for your lungs but also the lungs of you home to have that circulate through. Keep your home healthy and ready this Fall by knowing the warning signs of unpleasant scents coming from your furnace.

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