Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Running A Gas Furnace This Winter? Don’t Ignore These Smells

If you smell something odd when you’re running a gas furnace, it could be a number of different issues. But how do you know which one? This guide should help give you the answer.

Gas or oil smells

It’s normal to sometimes smell a faint gas or oil smell when your furnace is running, especially at startup. These smells are usually whisked away through furnace venting. However, this smell should not be overpowering. If the tell-tale rotten-egg smell is strong or spreading to other rooms in your house, leave your home and call the gas company. This smell could be a serious natural gas leak, and staying in the home could endanger you and your family’s health or even your lives. Explosions or fire can result from a gas leak. If it’s oil that you are smelling, it may not be such an urgent matter but you still need to call your local heating and cooling specialist for a service call.

Dusty smells

Turning your furnace on and smelling that old dusty smell can be disconcerting. However, this is usually not something to be concerned about. Most often this occurs when you’re running a gas furnace after a long period of disuse, and it’s just burning dust out of the combustion chamber. If it lingers, you should schedule a service call.

Damp or moldy odors

Musty, damp or moldy smells  may originate from the furnace or other places in your home. Having the condensate pump for your furnace cleaned will help it stay clear of mold and mildew. If you have had your pump cleaned and you’re still smelling a musty odor, it may be coming from another area in your home.

Some smells can be helped or prevented by yearly maintenance.

  • Changing your furnace filter three or four times a year will help your furnace run more efficiently and reduce the chances of mold and mildew growing. (Some furnace filters need to be changed as often as monthly. Inspect it that often, and if it looks dirty, change it.)
  • Having your condenser pump cleaned annually can also help prevent the chances of dust and water mixing together and turning into mildew.
  • Yearly maintenance is imperative to keep your furnace clean and functioning correctly.

For more advice on running a gas furnace efficiently and safely or other home comfort needs, please contact the experts at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Co., serving the Yuma area for more than 60 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about Gas Furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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