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SoCo Heating and Cooling Blog

Heating Smells That Signal a Problem

A heating system that’s in good shape should never really smell like anything. Sure, every home has a unique scent, whether it’s the detergent you use to clean your sheets or the smell of your pets, but these kinds of scents are a lot different than ones your heater might make.

And, to make things even more complicated, depending on the type of heating system you have, the smell coming from it could signal a different problem. For instance, a gas furnace might smell like rotten eggs or smoke if there’s a leak in the system. This means you should shut the unit down and call for heating repair in Colorado Springs, CO ASAP.

But a heat pump doesn’t use natural gas to heat your home, so it’s never going to give off the “rotten egg” smell. Instead, you might get a dirty sock smell which can signal a different problem that requires support as well. Keep reading to learn more.

Furnace Odors

Let’s start with furnaces, since they’re the most common heating appliance in the country. A furnace can come in two types–gas and electric, and each one is going to work hard to create heat in your home. A gas furnace burns natural gas to do this while an electric furnace heats up a coil using electrical resistance.

Gas furnaces can give off distinct odors when there’s something wrong. For instance, the familiar “rotten egg” smell of gas means that there’s a leak coming from somewhere inside of your furnace. This is bad because gas is flammable and it could be a fire hazard waiting to happen.

Unfortunately, carbon monoxide (the other dangerous contaminant that can leak out of a furnace) is odorless and colorless, meaning you’ll need to detect other signs if this problem is occurring. These signs can include fatigue, nausea, and memory issues while spending time at home.

If your electric furnace is giving off an odor, perhaps one of burning dust or smoke, then you’ll need to call for professional assistance as well.

Boiler Scents

Boilers can run into issues as well but the odors they give off can be slightly different.

One similarity boilers have with furnaces is that they can also be powered by gas. If your boiler smells like natural gas, this is a sign that the gas line or injector is leaking somewhere and your home might be at risk for a fire.

However, boilers can also smell like mildew or mold if there’s a leak in the water system somewhere. Since boilers use hot water to heat your home, any leak would mean standing water in some dark location of your home, which is the perfect habitat for mold to grow. Use your nose and let us know if you detect any foul odors.

Heat Pump Smells

Heat pumps can give off a distinct smell when something is wrong. We call this the “dirty sock” smell because it smells moldy, but more like a pair of dirty socks. This can happen when the condensate drain gets clogged.

The heat pump usually deposits moisture and condensation through the heating or cooling process through a drain. But if that drain gets clogged, the moisture will sit there and allow mold to grow, which can be bad for your air quality and your home comfort. This needs to be addressed quickly.

Contact SoCo Heating and Cooling today to schedule heating service. So Cool. So Cozy.

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