Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now experiencing an unusual smell? You're not alone, because a lot of other homeowners also experience this at first. Let’s review what’s creating this smell, and when you can anticipate it to go away, 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 smell.

Protective Finish

Your furnace has a special coating on specific parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely gets rid of gases such as 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 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 idle 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 disappear within a few minutes.

One way you can reduce or prevent this smell is by having furnace maintenance done each year. This is necessary to keep your valuable manufacturer’s warranty valid, plus it keeps your furnace clean and ensures it will run smoothly during the upcoming heating season.

3 Other Furnace Smells You Shouldn’t Ignore

While it’s less common for a new system to require furnace repair, it can happen. 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 protective 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 include sulfur in natural gas to alert you when there’s a leak. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, turn it off immediately, leave your home and dial 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you sick, plus it’s highly flammable and explosive.
  3. Musty. If your furnace smells musty, you might have mold and mildew flourishing in your ductwork. We recommend having your ductwork checked and cleaned if needed.

Now that you know which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re ready to take care of your new furnace. If you're worried about a strange odor, our West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services HVAC technicians can help. Give us a call at (616) 669-3961 to schedule your appointment today. We offer quality, affordable furnace repair in Hudsonville and surrounding communities.