Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now noticing 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 reasons why a new furnace might stink.

Protective Finish

Your furnace has a special coating on certain parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely exhausts 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 runs.

To be on the safe side, you’ll want to call a heating and cooling company if the smell persists. A burning smell that lingers can mean the motor has overheated or there’s an electrical problem, among other concerns.

Dust

Dust collects inside your furnace when it’s not running in the spring and summer. That dust will burn off when you switch on your furnace in the fall, producing a burning smell. This smell should go away within a few minutes.

One way you can decrease 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 properly during the upcoming heating season.

3 Other Furnace Smells You Shouldn’t Ignore

While it’s less common for a new system to need furnace repair, it happens. Here are three other smells you should look out 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 covered in plastic to protect against shocks, and this smell is a sign that heat is melting this precautionary coating. To prevent a fire, shut off your furnace right away and have it inspected out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies add sulfur to natural gas to alert you when there’s a problem. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, shut it off right away, evacuate your home and dial 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 growing in your ductwork. We recommend having your ductwork checked and cleaned if necessary.

Now that you know which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re well-equipped to take care of your new heating system. If you have concerns about an odd odor, our Dave's Diversified Services HVAC technicians can help. Contact us at 540-369-3971 to schedule your appointment now. We provide quality, affordable furnace repair in Front Royal and surrounding areas.