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What’s That Smell!!!

Sometimes you walk inside your home and things just smell off. You check the trash, run some faucets, and attempt finding the source only to lose patience and assume your sense of smell is the culprit. But the next day when you return from an outing and your place still holds that strange scent. Houses hold smells, and they’re not always appealing. If you can’t find where the smell is coming from, it might be a good idea to consider your HVAC system as the source of the issue!

The number of smells that can come from an HVAC seem to be never ending, but there are common scents that give you the right next steps to resolve the issue. Part of being an effective and safe homeowner is recognizing the signs that your home could be in danger. Read more to identify the most common scents that come from HVAC systems.

1. Musty dust smells. If you notice that every time your furnace or A/C kicks on the air is suddenly full of dust, it’s because somewhere along the lines the system accumulated dust and debris. This isn’t something to be super concerned with, as the dirt and debris should burn off inside the system. If it persists, it could be due to an old filter. If at any point you are concerned with the smell escaping your vents, give us a call.

2. Rotten eggs. If you come home to the smell of rotten eggs, it’s a bit alarming because either you have eggs rotting in your home, or there is a gas leak. Natural gas has no smell, so many companies mix in methyl mercaptan so that if there is a leak you are likely to notice. CO poisoning is fatal and nothing to be trifled with, if you are concerned you have a gas leak immediately shut off the furnace and contact a technician.

3. Burnt oil. If you smell burnt oil, and a service technician was recently at your home, it’s likely due to a spill not a leak. Oil spills can take a few days to dissipate, so do not stress if you smell oil after a service appointment. However, if that scent does not go away, or if you haven’t had a technician out recently, you may have an oil leak and require professional attention.

4. Metallic/Electrical odor. As pieces of your unit age and wear, metal components can burn and cause a distinct smell to waft through the home. If you have an electrical short, it can melt electrical insulators and cause metal pieces to burn. If you smell pungent acidic burning, turn off your unit and contact an HVAC company as soon as possible.

5. Burnt Plastic. If you are smelling burnt plastic in your home, it could be from a heat damaged circuit board, or from melted plastic parts of your HVAC system. It is important to identify these issues and have them repaired once noticed!

There are loads of smells a house can emit, but some can be warning signs of issues in either your furnace or A/C unit. They can hold yesterday’s bacon, or the stick from the laundry room. If you’ve started to notice a pattern, like every time the A/C kicks on nasty smells float through your home, it’s likely time to contact your favorite HVAC professional. You know where to find us!


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