Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace put in 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 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 smell.

Protective Finish

Your furnace has a special coating on specific parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely gets rid of gases like carbon monoxide naturally created 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 go away the more your furnace heats.

To be on the safe side, you’ll want to contact a heating and cooling company if the smell continues. A burning smell that sticks around can mean the motor is too hot or there’s an electrical problem, among other concerns.

Dust

Dust accumulates inside your furnace when it’s not running in the spring and summer. That dust will burn off when you turn on your furnace in the fall, creating a burning smell. This smell should disappear within a few minutes.

One way you can lessen 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 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 an indication that heat is melting this protective coating. To prevent 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 problem. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, shut it off immediately, leave your home and dial 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you ill, plus it’s highly flammable and explosive.
  3. Musty. If your furnace smells musty, you might have mold and mildew growing in your ductwork. We advise having your ductwork inspected and cleaned if needed.

Now that you are aware which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re well-equipped to take care of your new furnace. If you're worried about a strange odor, our KDM Service Corporation HVAC technicians can help. Give us a call at 205-208-8090 to schedule your appointment now. We offer quality, affordable furnace repair in Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas.