Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now noticing a weird smell? You're not alone, because many other homeowners also experience this at first. Let’s review what’s creating 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 smell.

Protective Coating

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

When your furnace operates 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 continues. A burning smell that sticks around can mean the motor has overheated or there’s an electrical problem, among other issues.

Dust

Dust collects inside your furnace when it’s idle in warm weather. That dust will burn off when you turn on your furnace in the fall, producing a burning smell. This smell should disappear within a few minutes.

One way you can decrease 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 smoothly during the upcoming heating season.

3 Other Furnace Smells You Shouldn’t Disregard

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 prevent shocks, and this smell is a sign that heat is melting this precautionary coating. To avoid a fire, shut off your furnace immediately and have it inspected out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies add sulfur to natural gas to alert you when there’s a leak. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, shut it off immediately, 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 growing in your ductwork. We recommend having your ductwork checked and cleaned if necessary.

Now that you are aware which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re ready to take care of your new furnace. If you have concerns about a strange odor, our Brandon Heating and Plumbing HVAC technicians can assist you. Give us a call at 204-728-0180 to schedule your appointment now. We offer quality, affordable furnace repair in Brandon and surrounding areas.