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 have this happen 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 disregard.

Why Your New Furnace Smells

There are two explanations why a new furnace might smell.

Protective Finish

Your furnace has a special coating on certain 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 give off a burning smell. This is normal and the smell should dissipate the more your furnace runs.

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

Dust

Dust collects 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, producing 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 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 Ignore

While it’s less common for a new system to need furnace repair, it happens. 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 problem. 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 immediately and have it checked out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies include sulfur in natural gas to alert you when there’s a problem. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, shut it off right away, leave your home and dial 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you ill, plus it’s extremely flammable and explosive.
  3. Musty. If your furnace smells musty, you might have mold and mildew flourishing in your ductwork. We advise having your ductwork inspected and cleaned if necessary.

Now that you know 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 Colvin's Heating and Cooling HVAC technicians can assist you. Contact us at 816-379-3918 to schedule your appointment today. We provide quality, affordable furnace repair in Excelsior Springs and surrounding areas.