Why Does My House Smell When I Turn On The Heat

Homeowners often complain that their furnaces smell bad when they turn on the heat. You might have thought that the furnace filter needs to be cleaned but the thing is that your furnace can produce different types of smells that may signal a problem with the unit. It’s best if you leave it to furnace services to detect the problem, but if you’re interested, let’s take a look into what these unwelcome smells mean and what can you do about it.

Dusty Or Burning Smell

If you turn on your furnace and observe that there is a dusty or burning smell coming inside the house, it means that there is dust and dirt accumulation. If that is the case, you will experience the same smell while turning on the air conditioning. As you turn on the furnace, the dirt and dust particles burn away, producing a dusty or burning smell.

In most cases, the burning smell will go away on its own. However, if you notice that the smell lingers every time you turn on the furnace, it means the unit needs a thorough cleaning. With that said, thoroughly cleaning a furnace requires skills and expertise. Therefore, we suggest consulting a professional.

Acid Burning Odor

The acrid burning smell is one of the worst types of smell. This usually occurs when the furnace has not been regularly cleaned. This smell becomes unbearable as the temperature drops below tolerable. The pungent smell not only makes it uncomfortable for you but the entire family.

If you were wondering the reason, it is again the dust. The acrid burning smell can easily be avoided if you clean your furnace or HVAC unit at least once a week. If you live in an area that experiences extreme weather conditions, you will have to clean it more often.

Once the unit has been properly cleaned, you should not expect the acrid burning odor to exist anymore.

Musty Odor

Upon turning on the furnace, if you smell a musty, stale, or dirty odor, it means that you are dealing with flaring allergies. Such odors are usually accompanied by irritable noises. If that is the case, you need to check the air filter and ventilation ducts. In most cases, either of the two comes out to be the culprit.

The job of the air filter is to remove any contaminants and odor from the air. Therefore, try replacing the filter and cleaning your ducts. Plus, every manufacturer recommends replacing the air filter after a certain period of time. At the same time, to check the air ventilation ducts, you can simply use a torch and throw light inside to see how dirty the air is.

Dirty Socks Or Mildew Smell

The smell of dirty rocks or mildew occurs when there is bacteria buildup on your indoor coils. This is then again, a problem related to ignorance of basic maintenance. However, if you have a furnace, you shouldn’t be worried about it as the furnaces usually reach temperatures high enough to kill the bacteria.

This means that you have to be a bit mindful of the maintenance if you have a heat pump installed in your house. If you find maintenance complicated, do not hesitate to hire a professional.

Electrical Smell

Electrical smell or ozone odor can be a serious thing. If you smell as if something is burning, you should immediately shut down the furnace. It might be that the motor is overworked or a wire is catching fire. In this case, you should not try fixing the issue and better call a specialist. Playing around with a malfunctioning heat pump or furnace can cause serious injuries.

Rotten Eggs

The rotten eggs smell is usually produced by a propane-fueled heating system. Propane and natural gas do not have any odor detectable to human senses. However, since the gas tends to be dangerous to humans, the scent of rotten eggs is added. If you come across this smell while the heater is running, you need to immediately turn it off.

Rotten eggs smell usually means that there is a leak somewhere, which can lead to serious health issues if exposed for longer periods.

Final Word

These are the different types of smells produced by your heating system. While some odors require simple cleaning, others require a technician from HVAC companies Falls Church to solve the issue.