Updated: September 30, 2023

When colder weather arrives, and the furnace clicks on for the first time, there’s always that familiar odor. But any smells coming from your furnace can be a little disconcerting. Knowing what these smells mean can take a lot of anxiety out of the situation. We’ve put together a list of the scents you’re most likely to encounter as a homeowner so you know what you’re dealing with and when to call Precision Heating & Air for backup.

Rotten Eggs

If you are smelling rotten eggs, this could be cause for concern. Natural gas is scented with sulfur (the rotten egg smell) so that leaks are discernable. Otherwise, gas is unscented. A gas leak in your home could cause a fire or explosion. Open your windows and call the gas company immediately.

There is a chance that the rotten egg smell isn’t coming from a leak, but it’s better to be safe in situations like this. Sometimes, ventilation pipes build up soot that will burn off, and the odor is like a gas leak.

Burning Dust

This is the most common smell for homeowners to encounter. While your furnace is not in use each summer, dirt, and dust can build up inside; when you go to turn your furnace on for the first time, all of this burns off, creating a distinctive smell. But it’s nothing to worry about. Usually, this smell will disappear within a few minutes, and opening the windows will speed this process up.

Burning Rubber/Plastic

Smells of burning rubber or plastic can indicate overheating or melting of one of the furnace’s moving parts, a blocked filter, or debris that has gotten into your ductwork and melted on one of the furnace’s hotter parts. If you don’t see anything blocking your filter, call for service.

Electrical Burning

An electrical burning odor is the result of wiring overheating. The smell is caused by the wires melting, giving you that metallic scent. Burning or melting wires can be dangerous and cause fires. If you think this might be the source of the smell, turn the unit off at the breaker and call a repair service.

Contact Us

If you encounter any of these scents in your Atlanta Metro area home, and they do not go away within a few short minutes, give the experts at Precision Heating & Air a call at (770) 758-4552. Or, you can schedule a service call online.

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