Strange Furnace Odors: What to Do and When to Worry

Turning on your furnace for the first time in your Chicago-area home can result in some strange and unpleasant odors. While many furnace odors are completely normal, there are a few things you should watch out for, particularly if the problem is electrical in nature. Make sure you know what smells are acceptable and what signals a real problem.

Pungent Dusty Odors

When you turn on your heating system for the first time in the heating season, you will typically notice a burning smell. The smoke alarm doesn’t go off, but your brain might still tell you to look out for a fire.

Though the smell is unpleasant, there is nothing to worry about as long as it doesn’t last for more than a few hours and dissipates on its own. Dust and dirt accumulate within the system when it is not in use. This debris burns off when the unit heats up and blows through the system, creating that unpleasant odor.

Musty Odors

If the odor coming from your heater is moldy or musty, this could indicate the presence of mold somewhere in the system. You should clean or change your furnace filter regularly to prevent this type of growth. Remember to change the filters in your humidifier as well. Inspect both as soon as you notice any strange odors.

Electrical in Nature

The smell of plastic or electrical burning is very distinct. There could be damage to internal components which could lead to further damage or a fire. You should not attempt to repair electrical components at any time. Contact a professional for repair services immediately.

While most furnace odors are nothing to worry about, it is important to know what is normal and what might be a sign of a potential problem. Routine maintenance is one way to effectively ensure your system is ready for operation in any season.

Avoid worrying about the safety of your system by contacting the experts at Hollub Heating, Inc. Call us today at (312) 829-8000 so we can put your concerns to rest. We have been providing service to the area since 1928, and our technicians are well-versed in all areas of system maintenance, repair, and installation. Call today to schedule an appointment.

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