Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now noticing a weird smell? You're not alone, because a lot of other homeowners also experience this at first. Let’s review what’s causing this smell, and when you can anticipate it to disappear, 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 Coating

Your furnace has a special finish on certain 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 dissipate the more your furnace runs.

To be on the safe side, you’ll want to contact a heating and cooling company if the smell continues. A burning smell that lingers 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 turn on your furnace in the fall, creating a burning smell. This smell should go away within a few minutes.

One way you can decrease 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 need furnace repair, it can happen. Here are three other odors 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 protective coating. To avoid a fire, shut off your furnace immediately 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 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 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 recommend having your ductwork checked 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 an odd odor, our Garoken Energy Co. Inc. HVAC technicians can help. Give us a call at 503-848-3838 to schedule your appointment now. We offer quality, affordable furnace repair in Beaverton and surrounding areas.