Causes of Furnace Odors

When you smell a bad odor coming from your furnace, your first instinct should be to leave the house immediately and call an HVAC professional. If the smell is reminiscent of rotten eggs, that might be a sign of a natural gas leak. It’s very dangerous, potentially deadly and not worth taking any risks. If you know how to turn off your gas line, do it, but only if you can manage to do it quickly.

Not all furnace odors are dangerous—but they still can put a kink in your holiday plans.

Does it seem like as the weather gets colder, it smells like your house has a sewer problem? If the aroma comes and goes and only happens in winter, it might be a faulty cooling coil. In some cases, the furnaces’ condenser drain is linked right to the sewer system.

The cooling coil inside the furnace is in charge of gathering moisture from the air in the home. Moisture gathers on the coil, and it needs to drain—sometimes right by the sewer opening. Incorrect installation can lead to a smelly situation.

Can’t We All Get Along?

It’s almost always the job of a plumber to take care of connecting this part of the furnace. No matter what the reason, an occasional sewer smell is your red flag. It’s not dangerous, but it’s certainly annoying. Luckily, it’s also simple and affordable to fix.

You may need to drain the condensate directly to the sewer via a new P-trap, ensuring there’s at least a one-inch separation between pipes. This separation lets the furnace fan do its job, sucking in the sewer gases via a drainpipe. This simple fix will keep those odors at bay. Another strategy is putting a tiny amount of water right in the open drain in order to create a water seal at the trap’s bottom.

Smell This!

Does your furnace smell musty when it kicks on? It might be exactly what you think—mold growing and festering. Of the thousands of mold species, very few are life-threatening. However, you can’t be sure without an expert opinion. If you have a humidifier connected to your HVAC system, swap out the air filter for a quick fix.

Dust and debris has been collecting in the ducts all summer, and now you’re blowing it around the house. Your best bet is to clean vents and ducts before using your furnace, but if you forgot, then rest easy knowing the smell should dissipate in a few days. (If it doesn’t, call an HVAC pro immediately).

For all your furnace odor fixes, call Sandy Heating & Air Conditioning today.