When you first fire up your furance for the colder months of the year, it may emanate a funky odor for about the first hour or two because it has not been running in a while. However, if your furnace consistenly emits an unpleasant or just odd smell, you may want to call a furnace repair expert. Here are three burning smells that should not be coming from your furnace and what might be causing them.
Rotten Egg Smell
This foul, sulphuric odor is typically associated with gas furnaces. The rotten egg odor you smell could be a gas leak. This is very dangerous, because the gas leaking out could build up in your home, and without an escape route to the outside through a door or window, your home could literally become a bomb. With enough leaked gas in the house and a lit match or lit gas burner and the whole place could explode. The gas could also replace most of the breathable air in your home, causing you to slowly suffocate. Until a repair technician can get to you, open a window or two and turn off the furnace to prevent combustion.
Burning Meat Smell
While this odor may not be quite as bad as some of the other smells that furnaces can emit, it is still not something you want to leave unattended. A burning meat smell can indicate that a small animal, possibly a squirrel or mouse has gotten into your furnace and has either been electricuted and is decaying or has caught fire from a pilot light or ignition switch. If you check on your furnace and find that there is a small fire or smoke accompanying the smell, turn the furnace off quickly, exit the house and call for a fire truck. After the fire department has extinguished the fire, you will still need a furnace repair person to check out the damages and fix anything that was lost as a result of burning small animals.
Another more common odor coming from furnaces is a burning metallic odor. Some may describe it as a "whiff of ozone or burnt copper pot." This may also be a very dangerous situation since it is indicative of electrical wiring burning through itself or an ignition switch gone very bad. If you can safely turn off your furnace, do so, and then call for a repair technician.