It’s that time of year again when the chill of winter makes people bundle up under soft blankets and, inevitably, turn on their furnaces to make their homes nice and toasty. Sometimes people will notice that their furnace smells and can’t figure out what could be causing the foul stench. Some causes are a simple and quick fix, while others may require professional help. To help you determine what may be making he odor, there are a few things you can check out. If an HVAC expert’s knowledge is eventually needed, it may save both of you time if you discover the cause before the appointment.
Furnace smells and the potential causes
Some of the reasons your furnace may be causing a nasty odor include:
- Mold: Excess moisture that gets trapped and remains stagnant in places like the evaporator coils or drip lines is one of the more common reasons. A pro will have to take your system apart to correct this.
- Dust: Another frequent cause can simply be from a build up of dust from the period the furnace wasn’t being used. This typically goes away on its own fairly quickly. It’s advised that you turn on your system briefly while opening the windows, before the weather gets too cold.
- Something’s rotting: HVAC ducts make appealing homes for little critters like rats, who sometimes die inside the system. Food that’s dropped through floor vents can also cause a rotting smell that takes over your home. If you can’t see the source, an expert’s assistance is likely needed.
- Trapped smoke: Be it cigarette or chimney smoke, these fumes can stay trapped in your system to be released once you turn it on.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).