Furnace Smells and Sounds: What Do They Mean?
If you live in a cooler climate, you likely rely on your home's furnace to keep your living space warm and cozy for a good portion of the year. Unfortunately, furnace problems can occur at any time. The best way to avoid being stuck without heat in the middle of a frigid winter day is to properly maintain your system. This includes scheduling annual tune-ups, in addition to being on the lookout for potentially troubling sounds and smells.
If you notice a dusty, burning smell emitting from your vents the first time you kick your furnace on after a long period of not using it, you probably have no reason to be alarmed. Oftentimes, this smell occurs when dust that has settled in your ductwork and vents initially burns off. It should dissipate within an hour or two; if not, or if the smell is more of an electrical burning smell, then it may be time to call a professional.
A musty smell that gets stronger when your furnace is running should not be ignored, as it could be a sign of mold or mildew growing somewhere in your home's ductwork. In some cases, this smell could also be the sign of a dirty air filter or drip pan. If a fresh filter and drip pan scrub doesn't eliminate the odor, it is time to call a residential heating professional.
Booms and Thuds
If you notice random booms and thuds as your furnace is operating, this is most likely just your home's ductwork expanding and contracting with the changing temperatures. If the noises are accompanied by any lingering smells, however, this could be the sign of a bad gas valve or another problem that needs to be addressed by a professional.
Screeches or Whines
Screeching and whining noises are never normal coming from your furnace, so if you notice these, it is time to have your furnace checked out by an HVAC technician. These noises could be caused by any number of problems ranging from a malfunctioning fan belt to a bad blower motor.
These are just a few of the most common noises and smells that may come from your home heating system. If you notice anything problematic, it is always in your best interest to call a residential heating professional to reach a full diagnosis of the problem and to complete any necessary repairs.