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Odors from Your Gas Furnace: What They Could Mean

There are a variety of ways that your gas furnace can warn you that it has a malfunction. (Aside from the obvious, like the furnace simply not working at all. That’s usually a pretty clear indication something’s wrong.) One of the warnings to special attention to is odd, often unpleasant odors coming from the vents when the furnace is running. Sometimes these smells are only minor issues, but others are emergencies that require professional repairs as soon as possible.

The rotten egg smell of gas

The most alarming odor you might detect coming from a gas furnace is that of rotten eggs. This comes from an additive that the manufacturers place in the gas so that it can be quickly detected when it leaks. (Natural gas normally does not have an odor.) When this rotten egg smell starts coming from the vents, there could be a cracked heat exchanger or leak in the gas line. Shut off the furnace, open up windows, and call for help right away.

Electrical burning smells

Another common warning scent from the vents is an acrid burning, like plastic or wires catching on fire. There are a number of reasons for this to occur, but most likely a motor in the furnace is overheating or some other rubber or metal components is wearing down. If you have repair professionals on the job soon enough, further problems can usually be averted.

Moldy and dusty smells

Dust that collects in the ventilation system will get blown out when the furnace comes on for the first time, so you should expect this odor. If it doesn’t subside, then you should have it looked into. Musty and moldy smells are often from an air filter that hasn’t been changed regularly (once a month). But it could also indicate that mold is developing inside the ventilation system, which may require professionals to install UV germicidal lights.

Call Raleigh Heating & Air, Inc. in Apex, NC and throughout Wake Country and the surrounding areas when you need furnace repair. We’re proud to have the best people in the industry, and every co-worker here is inspired to elevate your experience.

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