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Cool Touch Air Conditioning and Heating Blog

What Are Those Odd Smells From the Heating System?

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One of the key ways you can identify when your heating system is starting to malfunction is when it begins to make strange sounds: banging, clattering, hissing, clicking, etc.

What about your other senses, though? When you start to notice unusual odors coming from the vents in your house when the heater is running, you may need to call our team for heating repair in Glendale, AZ

We’ll go over a list of some of the strange odors you may detect and what they could me.

Dusty burning smell

If you have a gas furnace, you’ll probably notice this odor when you first turn on the heating system for the season. There’s likely nothing wrong with the furnace: what you’re smelling is the dust that has accumulated over the heat exchanger during the summer and fall burning off. The odor should go away in under an hour. If it doesn’t, you may wish to call on professionals to see what’s wrong.

Acrid burning smell

This is a more alarming odor than the dusty one, and it can point toward several serious problems. It can indicate a motor is burning out (you may hear a grinding noise along with it). It also can mean melting wires in the control board or the other electronic components of the heating system. (Yes, gas furnaces use many electric components.) No matter the cause, it’s not something you want to continue, so first shut down the heating system entirely at its breaker and then call for professional repairs.

Musty or moldy smell

Here’s an unpleasant odor that you don’t want drifting around your house. This problem is often called “dirty sock syndrome,” and it’s well named. The source of the odor is bacteria and/or mold inside the HVAC system. This can occur because of mold growing inside an air filter that hasn’t been changed in too long. If you have a heat pump to warm your house, the odor is possibly coming from mold growing along the indoor evaporator coil. You’ll need to call experts to clean out the HVAC system. 

Rotten egg smell

Natural gas doesn’t have any odor on its own, but gas manufacturers place a chemical called mercaptan into it so that it exudes a sulfurous smell like rotten eggs. This makes it easier for people to detect when there is a natural gas leak. If this odor starts coming out of the vents in your house, you need to shut off the furnace immediately at the furnace switch (its dedicated circuit breaker) and call our technicians. A gas leak in a furnace can be a serious hazard, and you don’t want to turn the system back on until we’ve given it a thorough check and made any necessary repairs. 

You can depend on us any time of day or night to help with your heating system—we have 24/7 emergency service. 

Rely on Cool Touch Air Conditioning and Heating for your comfort needs around the year. Kick back and relax—we’ll keep you cool.

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