If your furnace smells while running, it’s trying to tell you something’s wrong. We’ve put together a list of the top six furnace smells so you can learn what causes them and how to fix them. These include:

  1. Burning smell from furnace
  2. Furnace smells like burning plastic
  3. Gas smell from furnace
  4. Furnace smells like sewer
  5. Furnace smells musty

1. The Furnace Smells Like It’s Burning

Cause: Dusty Furnace

If your furnace smells like burning, it’s probably occurring when you turn on your furnace for the first time in the fall. Like anything else in your house, your furnace accumulates dust over time. This dust burns off when you turn on the heat, causing the burning dust smell from your furnace.

2. The Furnace Smells Like Plastic Is Burning

Cause: Electrical Problem

If your furnace smells like burning plastic or burning rubber, it might have an electrical issue. This smell of burning can be caused by melting plastic wire casing, which is a safety issue. If you’re experiencing a melted plastic smell, turn off your heating system right away and call us at 800-296-5088 for furnace repair.

Cause: Overheated Motor or Cracked Furnace Exchanger

An electrical burning smell could also mean your furnace motor is too hot or the heat exchanger is cracked. The heat exchanger safely exhausts carbon monoxide that’s naturally produced during the combustion process.

If it cracks, carbon monoxide can leak into your house. This invisible gas is fatal in large doses. So, it’s important to have an HVAC professional do annual furnace maintenance and have working carbon monoxide detectors.

Other signs of a cracked heat exchanger include:

  • Soot on or inside the furnace
  • Yellow burner flame, instead of blue
  • Chemical smell from furnace, such as formaldehyde
  • Water near your furnace, as long as the condensate drain isn’t blocked
  • Flu-like symptoms

3. The Furnace Smells Like Gas or Rotten Eggs

It’s normal for your heating system to let off a little bit of gas when it starts up, so you might get a gas smell from your furnace. But it’s not typical to be smelling natural gas or rotten eggs throughout your home on a regular basis.

Cause: Gas Leak

If your furnace smells like gas frequently, shut it down. If you know where your main gas supply valve is, turn that off too. Then call the gas company and us for help.

4. Furnace Smells Like Sewer

If your furnace smells like sewer, or rotten eggs, you’ll want to make sure you aren’t dealing with a gas leak. If you don’t, the problem could be with your sewer lines and not your furnace. This is especially true if it’s been very dry lately.

Cause: Dry Sewer Trap or Sewer Leak

If you think your sewer trap is dry, you can try putting some water down the floor drain in your basement. If that doesn’t solve the issue, you might have a sewer leak, so you’ll want to call a company that handles sewer line repair.

5. The Furnace Has a Musty Smell

If your furnace smells musty, mold and mildew have likely been growing in it for some time.

Cause: Dirty Ductwork

Your furnace works with air ducts to distribute warm air across your house. Mold can grow in the ductwork over time, especially if you live in a humid climate. You can get rid of the mold by having an HVAC technician do air duct cleaning.

Trust Us with Your Furnace Repair Needs

Trying to fix your heating and cooling system on your own is difficult. Your comfort is our top goal at AZ Air Conditioning and Heating, so our professionals are here to help you when you need us. When you need furnace repair in Los Angeles that you can depend on, contact us at 800-296-5088.