Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace put in and are now experiencing a weird smell? You're not alone, because many other homeowners also experience this at first. Let’s review what’s causing 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 Coating

Your furnace has a special coating on specific parts to keep them from rusting. This may include the heat exchanger, which safely exhausts gases like carbon monoxide naturally created during the heating process.

When your furnace runs for the first couple of times, the coating may emit a burning smell. This is normal and the smell should go away the more your furnace runs.

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

Dust

Dust collects inside your furnace when it’s not running in warm weather. That dust will burn off when you turn on your furnace in the fall, producing 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 required 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 need furnace repair, it can happen. Here are three other smells 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 issue. Electrical wiring is covered in plastic to protect against shocks, and this smell is an indication that heat is melting this precautionary coating. To prevent a fire, shut off your furnace immediately and have it checked out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies include sulfur in natural gas to alert you when there’s a leak. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, turn it off immediately, leave 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 flourishing in your ductwork. We advise having your ductwork checked and cleaned if needed.

Now that you know which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re well-equipped to take care of your new heating system. If you have concerns about an odd odor, our Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning HVAC technicians can assist you. Contact us at 360-255-5857 to schedule your appointment now. We provide quality, affordable furnace repair in Arlington and surrounding areas.