Why Do I Smell Something When the Heat Comes On?

Some sitting on a doc overlooking a lake We’re about to feel much colder weather in Aberdeen this weekend, with temps expected to fall into the 30’s. Often when the furnace kicks on for the first time, you’ll notice a funny smell. Here are some common reasons why:

Burning Dust

Over the spring and summer, a lot of dust settles on your furnace’s coils and other heating elements when they’re not in use. That dust starts to burn off when the furnace comes on, and omits a musty smell. Open a window for the first couple of days to let the smell drift out — after that, you shouldn’t notice it much longer.

Dirty Ducts

If you haven’t had your ductwork cleaned lately, dust, dander, and other debris could have settled into it during the past year. When heat blows through them, you may smell a stale odor, particularly if mold or mildew has emerged. A qualified HVAC company should examine your ducts each season and clean them if needed.

A Clogged Filter

Do you have pets? If so, you should be inspecting and possibly changing your disposable air filter every month. Households without shedding animals need to switch out the filter every few months. A clogged filter can put off a musty smell and also reduce your furnace’s efficiency. Change it and see if that eliminates the smell.

Gas Leak

If you smell something similar to rotten eggs or burning oil, leave your home and call 911. This is not a common odor, and could indicate a dangerous gas leak.

What if I’m still not sure?

If you can’t identify what the strange smell is and you’re concerned about it, let us know. Carbon monoxide doesn’t usually put off an odor, but it’s best to have an expert examine your home to make sure your family is safe. It could be time for a new furnace or there could be another problem.

We at One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning make it a priority to keep our customers safe and warm. Just give us a call.