Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace put in and are now noticing a weird smell? You're not alone, because many other homeowners also have this happen at first. Let’s review what’s creating 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 reasons why a new furnace might stink.

Protective Coating

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 operates for the first couple of times, the coating may emit a burning smell. This is normal 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 concerns.

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 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 problem. Electrical wiring is coated in plastic to prevent shocks, and this smell is a sign that heat is melting this protective coating. To prevent a fire, turn off your furnace right away and have it inspected out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies add sulfur to natural gas to alert you when there’s a problem. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, shut it off immediately, leave your home and call 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you ill, 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 Stieferman Heating Company Inc HVAC technicians can help. Give us a call at 573-203-3908 to schedule your appointment now. We offer quality, affordable furnace repair in Jefferson City and surrounding communities.