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Why Does My Furnace Smell?

HVAC systems can naturally emit odors. While the cause may benign, a strange smell may also indicate a serious problem that requires immediate attention. For your convenience, here is our list of four common furnace scents and what they mean.

Rotten Eggs If you get a whiff of rotten eggs coming from your furnace, it means there's a gas leak and it's time to get everybody out of the house. Make sure to remain somewhere safe, call the gas company, and wait until the leak has been repaired until re-entering your home.

Burnt Plastic Furnaces collect dust overtime which is burnt off when you turn it on for the first time during the cold season. It may emit a burning smell within the first 24 hours, but no longer. If it continues, turn off the gas supply for precaution and call your local HVAC professional.

Musty or Mildewy This scent is usually indicative of dirty air ducts caused from the buildup of moisture in the unit, causing mildew and mold growth. The ventilation carries this scent around the house, causing you to breath it in which can lead to future respiratory issues. To solve this issue, call a professional to clean your air ducts.

Metallic or Electric This is likely the scent of your motor overheating. In this case, it’s a good decision to power down your furnace immediately. Then, schedule a repair with your local HVAC company.

We hope you found this list of common furnace smells useful! If you have any more questions, call 72 Degrees Comfort Company at 515-965-7272 or email us at

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