Close this search box.

Furnace Smells and What They Mean


The furnace in your Mableton, Georgia, home may not get much work during mild winters, but you could meet unpleasant odors when you finally do turn on the heat. If an unpleasant smell is coming from your home’s furnace or ductwork, use this guide to help you track down the source of the odor.

Musty Odors

Does your furnace have a musty odor? This could signal mold growth. The most likely source could be a damp, dirty furnace filter. If you have a humidifier feature installed in your system, check the humidifier filter.

Since you don’t want mold and mildew circulating through your home, change your filter immediately if you notice this odor. If the smell persists, contact one of our service technicians to help you find the source.

Burning Dust Smell

The smell of burning dust is one of the most common odors associated with furnace operations. Your nostrils will typically meet this smell for a brief period when you first activate your furnace for the season.

Dust accumulates in the ductwork throughout the year and burns off when the furnace comes on. The smell is perfectly normal, but the odor itself shouldn’t persist. If you can’t rid the burning dust smell from your home, your system may need duct cleaning or other maintenance services.

Electrical-Burning Odor

If the burning smell that’s bothering you is sharper, almost like a heated electrical unit, check your ducts for dropped items. The simplest source of the smell could be a piece of plastic that’s fallen into the register. If you can’t track down the source promptly, contact one of our HVAC service professionals to help you find the cause. You may have a cracked heat exchanger or other more serious problem.

For more help diagnosing and resolving issues with furnace odors, contact E. Smith Heating & Air Conditioning at 678-369-8866. We can help you keep your furnace in good working condition and prepare your home for the chilly weather ahead.

Image provided by Shutterstock

Compliance Settings
Increase Font Size
Simplified Font
Underline Links
Highlight Links