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Here’s what you should know when your furnace begins to smell

If your home has a gas or electric furnace, you’ll be running it extensively this winter to keep your home warm. There are many potential indicators that a furnace isn’t working right, from strange noises and performance issues to ever-increasing energy bills. However, one important warning sign of an impending or ongoing furnace problem is strange furnace smells.

No matter what type of furnace or heating system you have, never ignore furnace odors. In a vast majority of cases, they are a sign that something is not working the way it should. In this article, we will review some of the potential odors produced by gas and electric furnaces and whether or not those odors are an indicator of a major problem with your heater.

However, in general, strange odors should always prompt a call to your local HVAC technician for an inspection. Here in Fresno and the Central Valley, be sure to call our team at Allbritten for fast and reliable heating repair from our experienced, friendly techs.

What kind of odors can a furnace produce?

Here are some of the most common furnace odors:

  • The smell of electrical wiring or plastic burning
  • Metallic smell
  • Burning dust or smoke
  • Rotten Eggs
  • Mold or mildew
  • Pet odors
  • Sewage

As we’ll review in the sections to come, not all of these smells are directly caused by the furnace, but they may indicate a fixable issue all the same.

1. Burning dust smell

A burning dust smell may emanate from the furnace once you start the furnace at the beginning of the winter season. This smell is completely normal and should go away within several days. However, if the musty smell persists, try solving this problem by changing out the air filter. If the problem persists after switching the air filter, it indicates a serious problem with the furnace. In such a situation, you should immediately turn off the system and call our team at Allbritten.

2. Metallic smell

If you notice a metallic smell coming from the furnace, it might be due to a component inside the furnace overheating. In some cases, the smell will be similar to the burning of hot plastic, oil, or rubber. If you smell odors that suggest that something in the furnace is burning or overheating, you should immediately shut off the furnace and call Allbritten for an inspection.

3. The smell of rotten eggs

The odor of a rotten egg or sulfur is another cause for serious concern. Utility companies put odor-indicating substances in natural gas, which is normally odorless. So, if you notice a potent rotten egg smell in your home, it could indicate a gas leak. You need to immediately shut off the gas furnace and call Allbritten for an inspection of your system.

4. Pet smells

Sometimes, the smell of pet waste or hair will appear to emanate from the furnace registers. If you get a strong whiff whenever you turn on the furnace, it’s important that you inspect the floor level ventilator registers. Cleaning up the mess near the vent can solve the problem.

5. Sewage smell

In case you notice the smell of sewage water emanating from the vents, it may be that an open sewer line or a broken wastewater line may be located near the system. A quick inspection of the external vents can help identify the source of the smell. You may have to call a plumber to resolve the issue.

6. Moldy Smells

A smell of mold coming from the furnace indicates a potential mold infestation inside the ductwork. You should not take mold infestation lightly. A mold infestation can degrade the quality of indoor air. It can cause people to suffer from flu-like symptoms, accompanied by sneezing and coughing.
Through our duct cleaning service, the qualified furnace technicians at Allbritten will not only remove mold and mildew from the ducts but also take measures to ensure that it does not recur as well.

7. Chemicals

This is one of the most dangerous smells you could experience in your cozy home. If the scent is a distinct chemical odor and similar to that of formaldehyde, it is likely that there is a crack in the heat exchanger component of your furnace. The heat exchanger component works by cycling heat out of the combustion chamber and then into the plenum. If this component is broken, it drastically increases the risk of fire. It may also distribute carbon monoxide fumes throughout your house.

8. Smoke

If you experience a smokey smell coming from your furnace, immediately turn the furnace off and open a couple of windows. This may occur when the furnace chimney (also called a “flue pipe” or “exhaust vent”) is blocked. The furnace’s combustion exhaust has to go somewhere, so it is forced into the ductwork.

Be sure to assess your safety in a situation like this. For example, if the smell is faint then open a window to ventilate and call a professional to schedule a service. If the smell is sudden or strong, you may need to temporarily leave your home and wait for a professional to come and identify the source of the smoke.

Call Allbritten to have our team inspect your furnace

Abnormal smells coming from a furnace could be one of the signs of a failing or damaged system. Here are some of the other signs of a failing furnace or that a furnace needs repairs.

When you need furnace repair here in Fresno and the Central Valley, call the locally trusted professionals at Allbritten. Our experienced, expert techs can quickly diagnose furnace odors and get your system back to running safely and effectively.

Cold Air Blowing From The Furnace? Here’s What The Problem Might Be

Troubleshoot Cold Air Blowing from the FurnaceOne problem that may develop with the furnace is that it sometimes blows cold air out of the registers. Here are just a few of the reasons that you have cold air blowing from the furnace.

1. Inspect the fuel source

Make sure there is no disruption in the fuel supply. If you have electric furnace, make sure the switch is turned on. In case of a gas heater, the gas valve should be open. Oil tanks must have appropriate amount of oil to effectively heat the house.

The furnace will not be able to generate warm air if the supply line is cut off resulting in cold air to blow through the ducts.

2. Examine the air filter

A clogged air filter will result in inefficient operation of the furnace. Dirt and dust that accumulates on the filter will prevent air to reach the furnace. As a result, the furnace will take longer to generate the heat.

If the filter is not cleaned, the furnace will eventually stop blowing warm air, and cold air will flow from the outside and circulate inside the rooms.

3. Inspect the thermostat

In certain situations, a thermostat can also make the furnace blow cold air. This will usually be the case when the temperature battery is dead. Also, if the thermostat is set at a lower temperature than the house temperature, it can result in cold air to blow from the furnace.

Sometimes setting the thermostat to ON instead of AUTO results in cold air to blow from the system. This is especially the case if you notice that the blower is constantly running but the furnace tends to blow cold air occasionally.

4. Cracks inside the ductwork

A crack inside the ductwork can allow cold air to seep inside the system. The furnace may be functioning properly but the warm air might be blown out of the registers. A professional furnace technician can carefully inspect the ductwork to find out if the cold air is really blowing inside through a crack.

5. Pilot light problem

A faulty pilot light can also be the cause of cool air from blowing from the air registers. The pilot light is a small flame in gas furnaces that must burn continuously for the furnace to generate warm air. Keep in mind that the pilot light should only be lit by a professional as lighting it yourself pose a fire hazard.

Cold air blowing from the furnace? Call Allbritten for emergency service!

If you reside in the area of Fresno in California, you can contact Albritten technicians to solve all kinds of furnace repair issues.

Here Are 5 Signs Of A Failing Furnace In Your Home

Failing FurnaceA furnace that breaks down in the middle of a cold winter blitz can be extremely discomforting. In order to avoid the discomfort due to a broken furnace, it’s important that you take immediate action at the first sign of a failing furnace.

A number of tell-tale signs show that the furnace needs repair and replacement. Some of the warning signs are easily visible, but not all.

Only a professional technician can know what things to look to detect failing furnace. Call Allbritten for furnace repair if you suspect that your furnace is struggling. Here are few of the more visible warning signs that could point to a failing furnace.

1. Furnace only provides cold air

The most obvious sign that something is wrong with the furnace is cold air coming from the air registers. Most often, the cold air indicates a damaged heat exchanger or blower fan.

Sometimes, the cold air is caused due to crack in the ducts from which outside cold air may be entering the room. Whatever the cause of the cold air, it is important that you immediately contact Allbritten to take a look at your furnace.

2. Old age

A furnace is a mechanical device that has a certain lifespan. Generally, the furnace will last about 15 to twenty years.

If you have the furnace for more than 15 years, and the furnace is not able to warm the room properly, you should consider having the furnace replaced.

3. Abnormal burner flame color

The flame of the furnace burner should be bright blue. A flickering or yellow flame indicates a faulty burner. This is also a sign that the furnace might be producing highly toxic carbon monoxide gas that poses a threat to the people in the home.

You should immediately have the furnace checked by a professional if you see an abnormal color of the burner flame.

4. Strange smells or noises from the furnace

If you notice a strange smell or hear unusual noises emanating from the furnace, you should consider having it checked by a professional technician. The strange noises or smells tend to occur when the furnace is at the end of its life and requires replacement.

5. Water pools around the furnace

Do you see water pooling around that furnace? If so, it may indicate that your furnace may have developed a fault. A professional technician can diagnose the problem and tell you whether the furnace requires repair or replacement.

Sometimes, the pooled water may not be a sign of trouble and may be due to faulty plumbing rather than a damaged furnace. Of course, Allbritten can help with plumbing repair, too. Getting the furnace checked by a professional will ensure that the issue is diagnosed and resolved promptly.

Allbritten can replace your failing furnace with a new system

How many of the above signs apply to your home furnace? If you can identify any one of the above problems, you can contact Albritten for furnace repairs in Fresno, California. We have a team of expert technicians that can conduct all kinds of furnace repair and replacement.