Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace put in and are now experiencing an unusual smell? You're not alone, because many other homeowners also have this happen 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 disregard.

Why Your New Furnace Smells

There are two explanations why a new furnace might stink.

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 such as carbon monoxide naturally produced during the heating process.

When your furnace runs 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 call a heating and cooling company if the smell persists. A burning smell that sticks around 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 warm weather. 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 every year. This is required 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 happens. Here are three other smells you should watch 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 an indication that heat is melting this precautionary coating. To prevent a fire, shut 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 warn you when there’s a problem. 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 growing in your ductwork. We advise having your ductwork checked and cleaned if needed.

Now that you are aware which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re well-equipped to take care of your new heating system. If you're worried about a strange odor, our Pepper AC & Htg Inc HVAC technicians can help. Give us a call at 940-202-1184 to schedule your appointment today. We provide quality, affordable furnace repair in Justin and surrounding communities.