1797 Park Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686
Phone: 866-BOB-HEAT

Does Your Furnace Have an Unpleasant Smell? If So, Here’s What You Could Be Facing

Does Your Furnace Have an Unpleasant Smell? If So, Here's What You Could Be FacingIf your home has a furnace with an unpleasant smell, it can ruin the air quality in your whole home. With the cold weather moving into the Grand Traverse County area, now’s the time to learn how to eliminate any funny smells your heating system might give off.

  • Dirty or dusty smell – When the furnace first kicks on at the start of the heating season, you may notice an odor of dirt or dust. The cause is usually dust that collects on the heat exchanger and in the ducts over the summer. Turn the system on again in fall, and that dust is blown off into your home’s air. If the odor doesn’t disappear within a few hours, try changing the air filter.
  • Musty smell – This stale, damp odor is often caused by mold on the air filter. Replacing the air filter should get rid of the smell. The filter in the humidifier, if you have one, can also cause this odor. Remove the filter and clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions or by soaking it in a solution of water and vinegar.
  • Burning electrical parts – Although disconcerting, this unpleasant furnace odor can come from spilled food or drink, or a kid’s toy in one of your air registers. If the registers are clean, there may be a foreign object in the ducts. An overheating motor and cracked heat exchanger are also possible causes, so if the odor persists, call a professional.
  • Smoke – This often indicates a blockage in the vent or chimney that’s causing smoke to back up into your home. This problem can also cause harmful carbon monoxide (CO) fumes to build up, so if you suspect a blockage, have the furnace ventilation professionally cleaned.
  • Heating oil smell – An oil-burning furnace contains an oil filter that can become clogged and start to smell. Changing this filter should get rid of the odor.

If you have a furnace with an unpleasant odor, or if you have any other issues with your home comfort equipment, contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnace smells and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Piotr-Marcinski/Shutterstock”


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Thank you for considering Team Bob’s for your heating, cooling, and plumbing needs! If you need immediate assistance, please call our 24/7 emergency hotline at 866-BOB-HEAT. Otherwise, please select a date and time below to request an appointment.

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