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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.

Here’s how tankless water heaters work

By now, you’ve probably heard about some of your friends and family investing in something for their home called a “tankless water heater.” Also known as a “Demand-Type Water Heater,” these systems are becoming increasingly popular with Fresno and Central Valley homeowners.

In this blog, we’ll explore the reasons why more and more local homeowners are making the switch to tankless systems. To learn more, or to make the switch yourself, contact Allbritten! We’re your local plumbing experts! (559) 292-4919

An endless hot water supply

Tankless water heaters, as the name suggests, do not have a tank in which they store hot water for eventual use by you and your family. Instead, a “tankless” system is a heating element connected to a water line. As hot water is needed, the line sends water through the system, rapidly heating it to the desired temperature.

Since the water heater isn’t storing a limited supply of water for use later and only heating it as needed, it can supply a virtually unlimited supply of hot water. This is useful for large families that go through a lot of hot water in a single period of time, such as when people are getting ready in the morning.

However, no matter what size your family is, this other benefit applies to you.

Saving money, both today and tomorrow

Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient than their standard counterparts. Since they’re only heating water as it’s needed, there’s less energy wasted. All-in-all, one of the chief benefits of a tankless system is that they can significantly cut down on the gas or electricity used in your home, which in turn slashes your monthly energy bills.

Yet, that’s not all. These systems also last longer than standard water heaters; in some cases, a tankless unit can have double the lifespan of a regular water heater. While the upfront cost of a tankless system is typically higher than that of a regular unit, bear in mind that you may have to purchase two water heaters in the same lifespan of one tankless.

Safety and space-savings

As you probably know by now, tankless water heaters do not have a tank. Here’s another benefit to that: the water heater tank burst—a scenario dreaded by homeowners for decades—is out of the equation. There’s no more need to have that stressful thought in the back of your mind, and there’s no putting a price on that.

One final benefit: most tankless water heaters are wall-mounted in your garage, utility closet, or elsewhere. This frees up floor space in some of the most valuable and crowded parts of your home.

To learn more about how tankless water heaters work, call Allbritten!

Allbritten is your source for local, trusted plumbers here in Fresno and the Central Valley. We repair and install tankless systems, as well as standard ones.

To learn more or to get started on a quote for a new demand-type unit, contact us today, or give us a call at (559) 292-4919.

Here are three reasons to schedule an energy audit

You can save money, have a more comfortable home, and help your air conditioner last longer. It all starts when you schedule an energy audit with the pros at Allbritten.

In this blog, we’ll talk about home energy audits and what makes them such a smart investment for homeowners.

What is an energy audit?

Allbritten is a Home Performance company with BPI-certified technicians. Our 26-point home energy audit helps Fresno homeowners find points of inefficiency in their home, which we then help them address.

From a whole-home pressure test to an evaluation of your attic and attics with an infrared camera, we thoroughly and completely evaluate your home.

Here are the three reasons to schedule an energy audit

Knowledge is power. By knowing where your home is losing energy, you can take action. Let’s review just some of the reasons you should schedule an energy audit.

#1. Lower your energy bills

A professional energy audit from the BPI-certified professionals at Allbritten can help you identify areas where your home is losing energy—and you’re losing money.

From a poorly insulated attic to inefficient systems, an energy audit points you in the direction of savings. Our tech will present you with a detailed report explaining places for improvement.

#2. Make your home more comfortable

Energy loss and energy inefficiency isn’t just about your monthly bills. It can make your home feel uncomfortable and drafty. Efficiency and comfort go hand-in-hand, which is why an energy audit from Allbritten can find ways to improve your home’s comfort.

#3. Reduce wear-and-tear on your air conditioner

The more your air conditioner runs in the summer, the more wear-and-tear it endures. This continual running can result in the need for AC repair more often, and—ultimately—decrease the lifespan of your system.

A home energy audit can help you determine where (and how) your home is losing energy. By addressing these issues, you can relieve pressure on your air conditioner, which doesn’t have to run as long to cool your home in the summers here in Fresno.

Paired with an AC tune-up from our experienced techs here at Allbritten, your air conditioner will be in better shape, run more efficiently, and be less likely to break down.

Schedule an energy audit with Allbritten

If you’re ready to make your home more energy-efficient and comfortable, it’s time to contact Allbritten and schedule an energy audit. Give us a call at (559) 292-4919 to get started.