What’s That Smell When I Turn On My Furnace for the First Time?

By: Brian Schutt  |  December 8, 2023


Revised Winter 2023

As the temperature dips for the first time this fall, homeowners across Central Indiana oftentimes smell something funny. Before you call on Homesense for an emergency furnace repair, go through these steps:

#1 Don’t Worry

It’s very normal that your furnace will have a funny smell the first time you turn it on. It can sometimes smell like burning, sometimes a little musty. Don’t get worried, it’s a very normal thing and happens in most homes.

#2 What is it?

Over the course of the spring and summer, dust has accumulated in and around your heat exchangers, vents and registers. As the furnace gets fired for the first time, that dust gets burned off creating that funky smell.

#3 How long should it last?

Not long. If the smell doesn’t go away within a few days of your first usage, it is definitely something to get looked at. Your furnace should feel like you have a fire burning, not smell like it.

Funny Smells From Your Furnace Can Mean Something Worse

As the winter goes along, funny smells from your furnace can be a sign of something worse. There are no reasons within your heating system that should create a noticeable smell. If you do get the sense that the furnace is emitting an odor, use your best judgement, including calling a licensed HVAC contractor like Homesense.

What can be more concerning, is that the most unhealthy air can often be undetectable to the nose. If you’re concerned about your home having a cracked heat exchanger, please call a qualified contractor for inspection.

If you have concerns about how your furnace is burning, or that something foreign is getting into your breathing air, don’t hesitate to call us at 317-203-8149. In matters of combustion, the precautionary principle is certain applicable.


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