The Different Smells Reeking from Your Furnace and What They Mean

No matter what type of furnace or heating system you have, always be cautious of furnace odors. In most cases, they are a sign that something is not working the way it should. This article will look at some of the odors produced by gas and electric furnaces and determine if your heater is malfunctioning.

1. Rotten Eggs

A rotten egg smell is most often caused by natural gas. If the gas pressure is too low, it will leak into the indoor air. This is because your furnace is not able to burn it properly. The gas will leak out of the stove, through the pipe, and into the air.

2. Petroleum Smells

A dirty filter or dirty burners can cause a petroleum smell. This is often an indication that you need to change your filter. However, if you have low pressure, the gas will not be able to move through the furnace properly and will leak out of the system, which will cause odors. Either way, if you smell the odor of petroleum or any other fuel, you need to visit a gas furnace repair specialist.

3. Acetic Acid Smells

In this case, you might have some contamination or mold growth in or around your furnace. This is a serious matter, and you need to take action immediately.

4. Sulfur Smells

A sulfur smell may indicate that there is an excess of hydrogen in the gas, which is not normal. This is because water has entered the gas pipeline, which means that there is a leak. Call a furnace technician immediately if you notice this odor.

5. Burning Smells

A bad or burning smell can indicate that the furnace blower is not working properly. However, it may be a sign of malfunctioning gas control. If the gas control is malfunctioning, your furnace will not be able to burn the gas correctly, and there will be gas leaks.

6. Electrical Smell

If you smell something burning but cannot find the source, this might be the furnace’s circuit board. The best thing to do is turn off your furnace and call an expert.

7. Oil Smell

An oil smell can indicate a leak in your pump or your burner. This could be a severe problem, so turn off the power, unplug your furnace and call a furnace repair specialist.

8. Musty or Moldy Smell

We have all been in that house that smelled just a little musty, or maybe like mold, and we didn’t want to be there. But with a gas furnace, a musty or moldy smell is not a warning sign that you need to get out. Instead, it is probably just a sign that your furnace needs to be maintained.


As you can see, different smells have different meanings. If you notice any odors mentioned above, turn off your furnace, unplug it and call a professional. They will be able to inspect the furnace and determine whether or not there is something wrong with the heating system. Do not try to fix anything on your own. Contact a professional fireplace repair company if you feel the smell is coming from a fireplace or a fireplace insert.

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