Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now noticing a weird smell? You're not alone, because a lot of other homeowners also have this happen at first. Let’s review what’s creating this smell, and when you can anticipate 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 specific parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely gets rid of gases such as carbon monoxide naturally produced 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 heats.

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

Dust

Dust accumulates inside your furnace when it’s not running in warm weather. That dust will burn off when you switch on your furnace in the fall, creating 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 properly during the upcoming heating season.

3 Other Furnace Smells You Shouldn’t Ignore

While it’s less common for a new system to require furnace repair, it can happen. 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 issue. Electrical wiring is covered in plastic to prevent shocks, and this smell is an indication that heat is melting this precautionary coating. To prevent a fire, turn off your furnace immediately and have it inspected 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, evacuate 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 growing in your ductwork. We recommend having your ductwork checked and cleaned if needed.

Now that you know which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re ready to take care of your new furnace. If you have concerns about an odd odor, our AC Sales HVAC technicians can help. Give us a call at (337) 234-2345 to schedule your appointment today. We provide quality, affordable furnace repair in Lafayette and surrounding areas.