5 Common HVAC Odors (And What They Mean)

If your HVAC system smells strange, it could be trying to tell you something. But what do those peculiar smells and odors mean? If you’re unsure what the scents are telling you, it could be challenging to fix whatever might be causing them. While your HVAC system might have an easy fix, you could face a higher bill than necessary if you can’t diagnose the problem in time.

Find out some of the most common HVAC systems smells and what they could mean. If you sense any of them in your home, you’ll be able to act fast to get your HVAC system working usually.

Does Your HVAC System Smell? Find Out Why!

Do you recognize any of the following smells around your home? Find out what they mean and the steps you can take to make them disappear.

Electrical Smells

If you detect an electrical smell from your HVAC system, it could be from overheating. Check your air filter to see if there is a dust build-up. If removing the filter and removing any visible dust doesn’t fix the problem, you’ll need to call an HVAC technician.

Your HVAC system might produce electrical smells when you first turn on the heater during the cold season. However, if this smell doesn’t go away in about half an hour, you may have an electrical problem.

Rotten Egg Smells

If your HVAC system produces the smell of rotten eggs, you could have a natural gas leak. Natural gas is added to sulfur to make dangerous leaks easier to detect.

If you smell rotten eggs from your HVAC system, open your windows immediately. A natural gas explosion can occur at any moment. Call your local utility to report the smell and the potential leak.

Oil Odor

If you smell the scent of oil from your HVAC system, there’s likely a mechanical problem. An oil leak can produce odors that your HVAC system spreads throughout your home. If you just installed a new furnace, it will be standard for it to smell like oil for about a day. However, in other cases, you’ll need to call a technician to fix your HVAC system.

The good news is that an oil leak inside your HVAC system isn’t dangerous. However, you won’t be able to repair it on your own. Your oil burner likely started to malfunction, or there may be an actual oil leak. Common problems that can make an oil smell include a broken fuel pump or a clogged burner.

Musty Odors

If your HVAC system smells like mold or must, it’s probably trapping condensation. This can cause mold or mildew to grow in your home and in or around your HVAC system. A technician will need to come and fix your HVAC system. A moldy smell can indicate that you have poor indoor air quality, making it essential not to put off repairs.

Smell of Gas

Your HVAC could produce a gas smell if there is a leak inside the system. There may be a loose pipe within your HVAC unit. Fixing it requires the work of a professional HVAC technician.

However, a gas odor could resolve itself in a few minutes. Your HVAC system can produce a smell like gas if it burns off dust inside. You might notice a gas smell when turning on your HVAC system once the weather gets cold. However, this smell could dissipate in about half an hour or less.

How to Deal With Smells From Your HVAC System

If you’re dealing with strange smells from your HVAC system, there are some steps you can follow to fix the situation.

Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

In many cases, keeping up with simple maintenance can help you avoid the most common odors produced by HVAC systems. Skimping on maintenance can cost you far more than the price of a typical inspection, significantly if any of the components of your HVAC system are damaged due to neglect.

Replace Your HVAC Filters

Another simple fix for indoor air odors is replacing your HVAC filters. If you don’t change your air filter enough, it could trap organic matter that contributes to the bad smells in your home. HVAC filters must be regularly changed to prevent many odors around your home. However, if replacing your filter doesn’t address your indoor air smell, you might need to call a professional for help.

Schedule a Professional HVAC Maintenance Appointment

Replacing your air filters and making some basic repairs may work to get rid of the smells. However, if neither option works, you may need to call a professional HVAC replacement company for assistance. They can take a deeper look at your HVAC system and recommend repairs or a replacement that can address the smells your system is producing.


7 Tips For Preparing Your HVAC System for Winter

Want to avoid any HVAC system trouble this winter? It’s easy to keep your home or business heated throughout the chilly winter months if you take suitable precautions. However, you could face costly breakdowns if you skimp on proper HVAC service. These can disrupt your home life and, in some cases, might even be dangerous.

The good news is that with proper precautions and a set maintenance schedule, you can avoid many HVAC problems. Staying on top of any HVAC issues can help you save money and headaches. Follow our guide to enjoy your winter without any HVAC disruptions!

Winter HVAC Care Tips

Check out the following tips to give your HVAC system the care it needs throughout the winter!

Check Your Vents for Blockages

Check for any blockages in your vents before the cold weather sets in. Dust, debris, and even critters and their nests can block airflow through your HVAC system. These blockages can make your heater run harder than it needs to when heating your home. This added stress can cause your heater to break down faster than it would if it were operating normally.

Inspect Your Air Filter

Your air filter needs to be changed out regularly for your HVAC system to operate normally. Depending on your type, you may need to use a new one monthly. Check your air filter to see if it’s dirty. A clean HVAC filter will do better at filtering out air pollutants. This is critical during winter when indoor air quality may suffer. 

Fix Window and Door Drafts

Drafts throughout your home can raise your power bill during the winter. Around half of the heat, your home loses can be due to window and door drafts. Schedule a visit by a licensed contractor who can safely seal any cracks along your home’s windows and doors.

Cracks around your windows can also let in precipitation, which can spell trouble for your home. Any added indoor moisture could help mold growth during the winter. That makes it essential to seal door drafts before the cold weather begins.

Tune-Up Your Furnace

Your furnace is a complicated machine that needs regular tune-ups to work correctly. It has many working parts that can be put under intense stress. A problem with a single component can impact your entire heating system. Some of the most common breakdowns in heating systems involve the following:

  • The starting mechanism
  • Dirty ducts
  • Broken or malfunctioning blower components
  • Heat exchanger malfunctions
  • Broken limit switch

Without professional training, it can be difficult to diagnose the specific problem if your heating system breaks down. It can even be dangerous for you to try to replace parts on your own. Schedule a tune-up before winter starts to ensure everything is in working order.

Schedule a Thermostat Inspection

A malfunctioning thermostat can make your home too cold or hot during the winter. Both cases can mean higher heating bills for you. A thermostat problem can become dangerous if you have little ones or older adults at home.

Schedule a thermostat inspection to ensure it’s working correctly. Replace it if your technician detects any problems. Be sure to check yours regularly for any problems. Change the batteries regularly, so it works without issue

Cover Your Outdoor AC Condenser

Winter can be tough on any components of your HVAC system that are outside. For many people, the AC condenser is an outdoor unit exposed to the elements. Covering your AC condenser can extend its life and prevent breakdowns during the coldest parts of the year.

Maintain Your Older Heating Systems

How old is your heating system? Depending on its age, it could have a more challenging time operating over the winter. Keep tabs on your heating system’s age and, if necessary, schedule a replacement. Heating systems older than 15 years may need to be replaced. The maximum lifespan of a heating system is typically 20 to 30 years.

Care for Your HVAC System Going Into Winter

Your HVAC system is a complex machine, and it’s important that it gets the love it deserves throughout the year. The best way to prepare for the winter is to schedule an HVAC system inspection before the cold really kicks in.