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Furnace Odor Causes: Rotten Eggs, Noxious, Burning Plastic

Furnace Odor Causes: Rotten Eggs, Noxious, Burning Plastic

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the odors you might smell from your furnace this winter, plus whether or not they're cause for concern. Some furnace odors are relatively common and don't present much or any risk, but there are also others that may signal significant concerns taking place within your furnace or other parts of your HVAC system.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we're proud to offer a wide range of furnace maintenance and repair services to clients throughout Provo, including assistance with any odors you may be smelling from this component. What are some of the smells that might be released from this area, and what are they telling you? Here's a rundown.

Rotten Egg Smell

Among the potentially concerning odors that may be coming from your furnace is the smell of rotten eggs. This may indicate that there's a gas leak in the area, and you should evacuate the premises and call emergency services right away.

This odor will most commonly show up soon after you've started the furnace for the day. If you smell it, there should be no delay in shutting the furnace off and contacting a professional.

Noxious Fumes

What if you've begun to smell noxious fumes coming from your furnace? It could be that the filtration system is not working properly. The burners may not be functioning, or there could even be oil leaking into the combustion chamber.

In other cases, this smell could signal that your home's chimney is blocked from its proper exhaust. This can prevent the proper release of smoke and cause a buildup of harmful gases that need to be released to avoid suffocation or poisoning.

Metallic Smells

If you've begun to notice a metallic, acrid odor from the furnace area, the most likely culprit is an electrical short somewhere in the furnace's control system, most likely between the heating and cooling components. This is a serious problem that can cause overheating and present a fire hazard.

Whether it's due to unshielded wiring or some other cause, an electrical short can create sparks and melt wiring, plus may lead to major overheating that can cause a fire. If you smell this odor, it's important to turn off the furnace and have a professional take a look at it right away.

Burning Plastic

Finally, burning plastic smells coming from your furnace often signal a problem with the furnace fan. You should also notice a decrease in your furnace's ability to heat as this is likely due to the motor seizing up as a result of overheating.

It may be that there is a loose belt on the fan, or that debris has gotten into its mechanism and needs to be removed. In some cases, you may need to replace the fan entirely. If you detect this odor, it's best to shut off your furnace and call in a professional right away.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we're here to help you identify any possible causes of furnace odors so that you can address them as quickly as possible. Contact us today for assistance with any of your HVAC or plumbing needs.

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