Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now noticing an unusual smell? You're not alone, because a lot of other homeowners also experience this at first. Let’s review what’s creating this smell, and when you can anticipate it to go away, 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 Finish

Your furnace has a special coating on certain parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely exhausts gases like carbon monoxide naturally produced during the heating process.

When your furnace runs for the first couple of times, the coating may give off a burning smell. This is normal and the smell should dissipate the more your furnace runs.

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 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 disappear within a few minutes.

One way you can lessen or prevent this smell is by having furnace maintenance done every year. This is necessary 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 odors 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 prevent shocks, and this smell is a sign that heat is melting this precautionary coating. To prevent a fire, shut off your furnace immediately and have it inspected out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies include sulfur in natural gas to alert you when there’s a leak. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, shut it off right away, leave your home and call 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you sick, 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 advise having your ductwork checked and cleaned if needed.

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're worried about a strange odor, our Home Comfort Heating & Air HVAC technicians can help. Give us a call at 763-276-0617 to schedule your appointment now. We offer quality, affordable furnace repair in Elk River and surrounding areas.