Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now noticing an unusual smell? You're not alone, because a lot of 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 ignore.

Why Your New Furnace Smells

There are two explanations why a new furnace might stink.

Protective Finish

Your furnace has a special coating on certain parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely gets rid of gases like 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 runs.

To be on the safe side, you’ll want to call a heating and cooling company if the smell continues. 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 idle 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 lessen 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 Disregard

While it’s less common for a new system to require furnace repair, it can happen. Here are three other odors 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 problem. Electrical wiring is coated in plastic to prevent shocks, and this smell is a sign that heat is melting this protective coating. To avoid a fire, shut 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 warn you when there’s a leak. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, turn it off immediately, evacuate your home and dial 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you sick, 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 inspected and cleaned if necessary.

Now that you are aware which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re ready to take care of your new furnace. If you're worried about a strange odor, our Central Heating & Plumbing HVAC technicians can assist you. Contact us at 724-401-1843 to schedule your appointment today. We offer quality, affordable furnace repair in New Castle and surrounding communities.