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Furnace Sounds and Smells

What Are Those Smells and Sounds?  

In a perfect world, furnaces would be totally silent and odorless in their operation. In reality, furnaces are complex machines and they’re going to make noises or even emit smells from time to time. Often, sounds and smells coming from a furnace are innocent enough, but there are some potential things homeowners should watch out for that could indicate the need for service.

Furnace Sounds and What They Mean

In normal operation, a furnace should not make any noise other than a consistent and low whirring or humming as it operates. One of the most common noises that will sometimes come from a furnace, is a high-pitched squeal or squeak. Often times, this is an indication that parts within the system are in need of lubrication.

Banging and rattling noises may also need to be addressed if they’re persistent, as they could indicate loose or broken parts as well as damage to the blower motor. A boom noise emitted from the furnace when it kicks on can also be a red flag, as this is often due to a delay in the ignition that can cause gas to accumulate. If left alone, this problem can worsen over time and become a carbon monoxide or fire hazard in a gas furnace.

Furnace Smells and What They Mean

Most of the time, a furnace should operate without any smells coming from it whatsoever. One exception to this may be the first time the furnace turns on after a long period of not being used. When this happens, it is common for there to be a temporary burning smell as dust that has built up within the home’s ducts and vents burns away. This is not anything to be concerned about, so long as the smell dissipates within a few minutes and doesn’t occur again.

Other smells that need to be addressed by an HVAC professional include a musty odor, which could indicate mold or mildew has accumulated within the ductwork itself. This is something that can be addressed by a professional vent cleaning.

An electrical smell should not be ignored, either, as this could indicate a damaged unit or faulty electrical wiring. If this smell is present, it’s best to shut off the unit completely and call a professional.

The Bottom Line

While many sounds and smells coming from a furnace are harmless, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. For odd sounds or smells that are persistent, it’s better to play it safe and call a professional HVAC company for further evaluation. From there, they can diagnose the issue and make any necessary repairs, giving additional peace of mind. Often times, resolving these issues in a timely manner can avoid the need for more extensive and costly repairs in the future.

Have additional questions about furnace parts or equipment? CE is here to help. Contact us today to find out more about the brands and parts we supply or the services we offer. Our friendly and knowledgeable team would be happy to assist you.