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Why Does My Heater Give Off a Funny Smell?

If you detect a funny owner as soon as you turn your heater on, that may be an indication that your furnace requires maintenance. Possible issues could be as minor as a dirty filter or as serious as a broken electrical part of the furnace. In any case, the foul smell shouldn’t be ignored, it’s imperative to locate the source of the issue in order to avoid expensive future repairs. Here are the various odors you might come across, along with the probable cause and appropriate course of action for each issue.

Musty Odors

Musty odor could mean that mold is trapped in the furnace filter. If your furnace comes with a humidifier filter attached, it’s best to inspect the filter once a year and replace or clean when necessary. A humidifier filter has the potential to collect mold, which may be the origin of the musty smell.

Plastic or Electrical Burning Smell

A multitude of reasons could be associated with a burning plastic or burning electrical component smell. There could possibly be an object in the duct work which begins to smell when it’s overheated, such as a child’s or pet’s toy. A spill on a register is also another reason why this smell persists. Examine your registers and remove them to search for a spill in the duct work.

A more serious issue is when the heat exchanger is cracked or the furnace motor is overheating.

Oil or Smoke

Oil furnaces are equipped with an oil filter inside the unit. If the filter gets clogged, turning your furnace on will bring about the oil smell. The solution would be to replace the filter.

A blocked chimney may be the cause of the smoke smell, causing the smoke to be sent back through the furnace and out through the duct work.

If these problems continue, please call our Palm Beach County heater repair experts at (888) 660-4337 and let our experienced HVAC technicians take care of the issue.