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 reasons why a new furnace might smell.

Protective Coating

Your furnace has a special finish 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 operates for the first couple of times, the coating may give off 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 contact a heating and cooling company if the smell continues. 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 the spring and summer. That dust will burn off when you turn on your furnace in the fall, creating a burning smell. This smell should disappear within a few minutes.

One way you can decrease 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 need furnace repair, it happens. Here are three other smells you should look out 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 precautionary coating. To avoid a fire, turn off your furnace immediately and have it inspected out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies add sulfur to natural gas to warn you when there’s a leak. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, turn it off immediately, leave your home and call 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you sick, plus it’s highly 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 inspected 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're worried about a strange odor, our Air Concepts of Middle Georgia HVAC technicians can assist you. Contact us at 478-200-5689 to schedule your appointment today. We provide quality, affordable furnace repair in Middle Georgia and surrounding areas.