If you're using a gas furnace at home, the chances are that you'll have to run it extensively in the winter to warm up your home. So, if it develops issues during its operation, you can tell if you experience a sudden increase in energy costs or hear strange noises. However, a vital sign of furnace problem you should not overlook is odd furnace smells. This guide explores some of the most common gas odors, their meaning, and when you should seek furnace repair services.
1. Rotten egg smell
Natural gas commonly used in furnaces can be dangerous when you inhale as it causes irregular breathing, nausea, and dizziness. Given that this gas is odorless, gas companies prefer to add mercaptan (foul-smelling gas) as a safety measure. Therefore, when you notice a foul smell similar to rotten eggs, your furnace gas is leaking. Due to the risk that it poses, seek the help of an experienced furnace technician immediately and leave your home until the expert resolves your issue.
2. Chemical odors
The leading cause of chemical odor from your gas furnace is a crack on your heat exchanger. This comes when your furnace gas from the heat exchanger mixes with your blower-forced air, resulting in a chemical smell almost similar to formaldehyde. That said, on the first sign of a chemical odor, shut down your gas furnace and seek furnace repair services. An experienced technician will run different tests to ascertain that the heat exchanger is the source of your foul smell.
3. An electrical burning odor
If you notice an electrical burning smell, it could indicate that your gas furnace blower motor has overheated. Under normal working conditions, your furnace should shut off when it overheats. However, if there are issues with your safety features, your furnace will continue to operate, overworking your motor.
When this happens, your motors wire insulation will begin to melt, producing electrical shorts that cause the burning smell. If you ignore this issue, the melting wire can create heat which can start a fire. So, when you notice a burning odor, cut the power to your unit and get in touch with an HVAC expert for sound furnace repair advice.
Unusual gas odors are never good, especially if they come from a system that creates or uses heat. Sometimes, such odors are a sign of minor issues, but others could point to a big problem that requires an experienced HVAC technician's services. So, take quick action for the safety of your home.