Furnace Fiascos Avoided

Odd Odors You Should Never Ignore When Coming From Your Home's Gas Furnace

When your furnace is running during the winter months, you may be accustomed to some smells, such as the musty odor when you first turn it on and it's burning off dust or the brief smell of gas when the burner first lights. However, if you detect any of the odd odors below, you should not ignore them, as they may be a sign of something seriously wrong with your gas furnace.

Emits the Odors of a Dirty Locker Room

If you have ever been in a dirty locker room, you are probably aware of how it smells like sweat and dirty feet. However, if you start to smell this strange odor coming from the heating vents in your home, this is most definitely not normal.

Known as "dirty sock syndrome" because of the offending combination of smells, this odor is a sign that bacteria have started growing inside your furnace and heat ducts. As the bacteria colonies grow and spread, the byproducts they emit give off the odor that resembles dirty socks.

If not taken care of by a professional, this bacteria can then go airborne. It could make your family sick, especially if anyone in your household is young, elderly, or already has a compromised immune system.

Resembles the Smell of Chlorine

Another odor that you should never ignore is one that closely resembles the faint smell of chlorine, especially if you have not used any bleach for several days. This type of odor often indicates the presence of ozone, which is given off when wires within your furnace's electrical system start shorting out.

When the wires have shorts in them, the coating melts away and exposes them. Arcs are then free to jump between the wires, creating small puffs of ozone that make their way through the ducts and into your home through the vents.

While the small amounts of ozone are not hazardous, exposed wires that are arcing most definitely pose a serious threat. If the arcing electricity comes into contact with dust or dirt, a fire could start within your furnace and spread quickly through your home

If you detect any of the strange odors discussed above, there could be a serious problem with your home's furnace that you should not dismiss. Contact an HVAC contractor like Always Ready Repair as soon as possible to have them inspect the unit and discuss what needs to be done to remedy the problem, from cleaning the furnace to providing furnace replacement services.