Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now experiencing a weird 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 go away, as well as three other furnace smells you shouldn’t ignore.

Why Your New Furnace Smells

There are two explanations why a new furnace might stink.

Protective Finish

Your furnace has a special finish on specific parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely gets rid of gases such as carbon monoxide naturally created during the heating process.

When your furnace operates for the first couple of times, the coating may emit a burning smell. This is standard and the smell should dissipate the more your furnace heats.

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

Dust

Dust accumulates inside your furnace when it’s idle in warm weather. 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 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 properly 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 can happen. 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 protect against shocks, and this smell is an indication that heat is melting this protective coating. To avoid a fire, shut 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, turn it off immediately, evacuate your home and call 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 growing in your ductwork. We advise having your ductwork checked and cleaned if necessary.

Now that you know which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re well-equipped to take care of your new furnace. If you have concerns about an odd odor, our Lanz Furnace and Fireplace HVAC technicians can assist you. Contact us at 608-291-3606 to schedule your appointment now. We offer quality, affordable furnace repair in Monroe and surrounding areas.