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Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

Why Does It Smell Like My Furnace Is Burning When I Turn It On?

There are things that you’d expect to notice when your furnace turns on. For example, the feeling of warm air and maybe even a small rattle as your ductwork expands. These are common details to notice. However, smells are more often than not a warning sign of trouble from a furnace, whether it uses gas or just electricity to get the job done.

A furnace that has started to produce worrying smells while it is running is one that needs a furnace repair in Minneapolis, MN. We’ll explain what some of the most concerning smells from your furnace mean so you know if and when the time has come to reach out for repairs.

“Why does my furnace produce a “burning” smell?”

A burning smell or an acrid odor that develops when your furnace is running may mean that there is a problem with your electrical components. This can be a problem with an electric or a gas furnace because both require some form of electricity to operate.

What you may be smelling could range from overheated or melting wires to a burning electrical connection. This can lead to a circuit trip or a full system shut down, so make sure not to ignore this smell.

“Why does my furnace smell like rotten eggs?”

The smell of rotten eggs coming from your furnace is a concerning one. It is also a smell that you will only encounter if you have a gas-powered furnace.

What you are smelling is created by mercaptan. This is a chemical that is added to the municipal gas supply in order to create a smell if the gas should leak. This is important as natural gas without mercaptan is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.

Smelling rotten eggs while your furnace is in use is a likely sign that there is a leak allowing gas to escape the system. This may mean you have a leak in the gas line connection or a crack in your heat exchanger.

“Why does my furnace smell dirty?”

When you turn on your furnace for the first time in fall or early winter, it may produce a burning dust smell. While this may be normal for a minute or two, it stops being normal this late in the season.

An ever-present smell of something burning can be an indicator of a couple of issues. The first is if you have a gas furnace. Your burners may be clogged with debris, meaning that each time the furnace runs it is literally burning dust. On the other hand, if you have an electric furnace, that burning smell could mean your electrical coils need a thorough cleaning.

Expert Service Address Bad Smells and More

Smells are just one of the warning signs of trouble that a furnace may develop. Whether your furnace is stinky, noisy, or temperamental, you should always work with a professional technician to get the core problem identified and fixed.

“Feel the Difference!” Contact Residential Heating and Air Conditioning to schedule your next furnace repair.

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