Winter is nearly here, and it’s chilly here in Arlington! Now that
we’re in the thick of heating season, many people may be starting
to notice odd things about their heater, especially those who skipped
an annual heating tune-up.
Weird smells are among the most common complaints people have about their
heaters. But which smells are normal and which are cause for alarm? As
a savvy homeowner, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs
of a heating issue and to know when it’s time to call for
heating service. Here’s a list of common heater smells and what they may mean.
Heater smells like burning
Identify exactly what kind of burning odor you are smelling. If it’s
the first time you’re turning on your heater for the season, it’s
normal for you to smell a weird odor as dust burns off the unit, and the
smell should dissipate. However, if you smell something like overheated
metal or burning plastic, you may have a bigger problem with your wiring
or an internal component that isn’t working properly. Immediately
turn off your heater and call for service to avoid a potential fire hazard.
Heater smells musty
A musty smell coming from your vents may indicate an issue with mildew
or mold. While not an emergency, this could affect the quality of your
indoor air and may be an issue for asthma or allergy sufferers. It’s
a good idea to have your heater and vents inspected and cleaned.
Heater smells like rotten eggs
If you have a gas furnace and notice a rotten egg or sulfuric smell, you
may have a natural gas leak. Natural gas is odorless, so in order to make
it detectable, a chemical called mercaptan is added. This chemical is
responsible for that unpleasant smell. Since natural gas is highly toxic
and can be fatal, it is imperative that you shut off your heater, vacate
your family (and pets!) from your home, and immediately call your gas company.
Heater smells like fish
Smell something fishy? Many people assume that they have a dead animal
in their crawlspace, but it’s more likely that you have an overheated,
burning electrical component in your heater. As this is a serious fire
hazard, you should shut off your heater and call for heating service.
Need heating service?
Tom’s Mechanical, Inc. is available 24/7 for your convenience. Give us a call today!