Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now experiencing an unusual smell? You're not alone, because a lot of other homeowners also experience this at first. Let’s review what’s causing this smell, and when you can expect it to disappear, as well as three other furnace smells you shouldn’t ignore.

Why Your New Furnace Smells

There are two explanations why a new furnace might stink.

Protective Finish

Your furnace has a special finish on certain parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely gets rid of gases such as carbon monoxide naturally produced during the heating process.

When your furnace runs for the first couple of times, the coating may emit a burning smell. This is normal and the smell should go away the more your furnace heats.

To be on the safe side, you’ll want to call a heating and cooling company if the smell continues. A burning smell that sticks around can mean the motor is too hot or there’s an electrical problem, among other concerns.

Dust

Dust collects inside your furnace when it’s idle in the spring and summer. That dust will burn off when you switch on your furnace in the fall, creating a burning smell. This smell should disappear within a few minutes.

One way you can reduce or prevent this smell is by having furnace maintenance done every year. This is necessary to keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, plus it keeps your furnace clean and ensures it will run smoothly during the upcoming heating season.

3 Other Furnace Smells You Shouldn’t Ignore

While it’s less common for a new system to require furnace repair, it happens. Here are three other smells you should watch for and what they might mean.

  1. Burning plastic or rubber. If your furnace smells like burning plastic, you might have an electrical issue. Electrical wiring is coated in plastic to protect against shocks, and this smell is an indication that heat is melting this protective coating. To avoid a fire, shut off your furnace immediately and have it checked out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies add sulfur to natural gas to warn you when there’s a problem. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, shut it off immediately, leave your home and call 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you ill, plus it’s extremely flammable and explosive.
  3. Musty. If your furnace smells musty, you might have mold and mildew flourishing in your ductwork. We recommend having your ductwork checked and cleaned if needed.

Now that you are aware which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re ready to take care of your new furnace. If you have concerns about an odd odor, our West Jefferson Plumbing and Heating, Inc. HVAC technicians can assist you. Contact us at 614-450-1575 to schedule your appointment now. We offer quality, affordable furnace repair in West Jefferson and surrounding areas.