Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace put in and are now experiencing an unusual smell? You're not alone, because many other homeowners also experience this at first. Let’s review what’s causing this smell, and when you can expect it to disappear, 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 Coating

Your furnace has a special coating on certain parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely gets rid of 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 standard 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 the spring and summer. That dust will burn off when you switch on your furnace in the fall, creating a burning smell. This smell should go away within a few minutes.

One way you can reduce or prevent this smell is by having furnace maintenance done each year. This is required 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 need furnace repair, it can happen. Here are three other odors you should look out 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 coated in plastic to protect against shocks, and this smell is a sign that heat is melting this precautionary coating. To avoid a fire, turn off your furnace right away 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, turn it off right away, leave your home and dial 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you sick, plus it’s highly flammable and explosive.
  3. Musty. If your furnace smells musty, you might have mold and mildew flourishing 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 heating system. If you're worried about a strange odor, our Vogts Heating & Air HVAC technicians can assist you. Contact us at 208-621-0129 to schedule your appointment today. We provide quality, affordable furnace repair in Pocatello and surrounding areas.