Is it Normal for a New Furnace to Smell?

December 08, 2021

Have you recently had a new furnace installed and are now noticing a weird 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 anticipate it to disappear, as well as three other furnace smells you shouldn’t ignore.

Why Your New Furnace Smells

There are two explanations why a new furnace might smell.

Protective Finish

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 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 contact a heating and cooling company if the smell continues. A burning smell that sticks around can mean the motor has overheated or there’s an electrical problem, among other issues.

Dust

Dust accumulates inside your furnace when it’s idle in warm weather. That dust will burn off when you turn on your furnace in the fall, producing a burning smell. This smell should disappear within a few minutes.

One way you can reduce or prevent this smell is by having furnace maintenance done each year. This is necessary 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 require furnace repair, it can happen. Here are three other odors 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 issue. Electrical wiring is coated in plastic to protect against shocks, and this smell is an indication that heat is melting this precautionary coating. To avoid a fire, shut off your furnace right away and have it checked out by an HVAC technician.
  2. Gas or rotten eggs. Gas companies add sulfur to natural gas to alert you when there’s a leak. If your furnace smells like gas or rotten eggs, turn it off immediately, evacuate your home and call 911. Exposure to natural gas can make you sick, plus it’s extremely flammable and explosive.
  3. Musty. If your furnace smells musty, you might have mold and mildew growing in your ductwork. We advise having your ductwork inspected and cleaned if necessary.

Now that you are aware which furnace smells are normal and which ones aren’t, you’re ready to take care of your new heating system. If you're worried about a strange odor, our Durable Service HVAC technicians can assist you. Contact us at 308-995-8177 to schedule your appointment today. We provide quality, affordable furnace repair in Holdrege and surrounding communities.