Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now experiencing a weird smell? You're not alone, because many other homeowners also experience this at first. Let’s review what’s creating this smell, and when you can anticipate it to disappear, as well as three other furnace smells you shouldn’t disregard.

Why Your New Furnace Smells

There are two explanations why a new furnace might smell.

Protective Finish

Your furnace has a special coating on certain parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely gets rid of gases such as carbon monoxide naturally produced during the heating process.

When your furnace operates for the first couple of times, the coating may emit a burning smell. This is standard and the smell should dissipate the more your furnace heats.

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

Dust

Dust collects inside your furnace when it’s idle in warm weather. That dust will burn off when you turn on your furnace in the fall, creating a burning smell. This smell should disappear 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 Disregard

While it’s less common for a new system to need 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 problem. Electrical wiring is covered in plastic to prevent shocks, and this smell is an indication that heat is melting this precautionary coating. To prevent a fire, turn off your furnace right away and have it checked out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies include sulfur in 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 highly 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 well-equipped to take care of your new heating system. If you have concerns about an odd odor, our House of Heating Incorporated HVAC technicians can help. Contact us at 715-384-3163 to schedule your appointment today. We offer quality, affordable furnace repair in Marshfield and surrounding areas.