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Furnace Smells and What They Mean

smells something awful

As winter weather creeps into the Birmingham, Alabama, area, you’ll likely need to turn to your furnace for cozy comforts. Turning on the heat for the first time can cause a temporary unpleasant odor in your home. It’s important to know which furnace smells are normal and which are signs of a major problem, so you can take the proper action as soon as possible when there are indicators of trouble.

Burning Dust

The smell of burning dust is exactly as it seems. You’ll typically notice this smell at the beginning of the heating season, as dust burns off unused components. If you schedule your annual maintenance visit before the onset of the heating season, you can minimize this issue. Though the odor is unpleasant, it’s not a major cause for worry, and should dissipate after the first few times you run your system.

Rotten Eggs

The odor associated with rotten eggs is actually a chemical called sulfur. This is added to otherwise odorless gases so homeowners can recognize a leak. Natural gas can cause nausea, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. Prolonged exposure can even be fatal. You should never ignore a gas leak. Leave your home immediately and call a professional for help. Don’t re-enter the building until you’re certain that it’s safe again.


The smell of ozone is also described as an electrical burning odor. This may remind you of chlorine or hot metal. This smell can indicate overheated wires or an overheated blower motor. Both problems are serious. You should turn off your furnace immediately to reduce the risk of fire, and call one of our repair professionals. We offer 24/7 emergency services to provide you with a fast solution that will keep your family safe, cozy, and comfortable.

If your furnace is emitting any type of concerning odor, you should call a repair professional as soon as possible. Total Comfort Heating and Air, LLC can help you diagnose and resolve all your furnace issues quickly, so you and your family can be comfortable all winter long.

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