Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace put in and are now experiencing a weird smell? You're not alone, because a lot of other homeowners also have this happen 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 specific parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely gets rid of gases like carbon monoxide naturally created during the heating process.

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

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

Dust

Dust accumulates inside your furnace when it’s not running in warm weather. That dust will burn off when you switch on your furnace in the fall, creating a burning smell. This smell should go away within a few minutes.

One way you can lessen or prevent this smell is by having furnace maintenance done each year. This is required 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 Disregard

While it’s less common for a new system to require furnace repair, it can happen. 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 a sign that heat is melting this precautionary coating. To prevent a fire, shut off your furnace immediately and have it inspected out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies add sulfur to natural gas to warn you when there’s a leak. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, turn it off right away, leave your home and call 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you sick, 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 advise having your ductwork inspected and cleaned if necessary.

Now that you know which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re ready to take care of your new heating system. If you have concerns about a strange odor, our Gee & Missler Heating & Air Conditioning HVAC technicians can assist you. Contact us at 734-284-1224 to schedule your appointment today. We offer quality, affordable furnace repair in Wyandotte and surrounding areas.