A Musty Mess: Why Does Your Furnace Smell Musty?

Have you ever thought about how dirty your furnace gets? It might not be the first spot most homeowners picture when they think about house messiness, but the furnace can be a very untidy place.

Dirt and grime in your home HVAC system can lead to foul smells. If you notice musty or unpleasant smells coming from your furnace, you need a professional HVAC service to root out the cause before it becomes a bigger issue.

Follow your nose and your instincts if your furnace smells musty, and read on to find out more about why your furnace smells funny.

What Do Unpleasant Furnace Smells Mean?

One of the first symptoms of a furnace issue is a strange smell coming from the HVAC system. If you notice a bad smell coming from your furnace vents, the best thing you can do is identify what it smells like and call an HVAC service to inspect it.

Some of the odors that a malfunctioning furnace might give off include the following:

  • Chemical smells
  • Burning plastic smells
  • Musty smells
  • Rotten or sewage smells

Each of these awful scents indicates a different HVAC system issue. Many of these problems can be very serious.

For instance, if there is a chemical smell from your furnace, that could be a sign that your heat exchanger is cracked. Cracked heat exchangers can cause fires and carbon monoxide leaks.

Sewer odors can indicate a sewer line break, and smelling rotten eggs could signify a gas line leak. If your furnace smells like burning plastic, an overheated plastic wire casing could be creating a dangerous fire hazard.

Being aware of the various smells your furnace system gives off could save your home and household from devastating or life-threatening consequences.

Why Does My Furnace Smell Musty?

It is unlikely that your furnace is being used constantly all year long. Most HVAC heat systems have a few weeks or months of heavy utilization and long periods of time when they are completely out of use.

When your furnace is unused, a lot of debris is built up and then left to fester. Sometimes your furnace air smells musty due to a buildup of dust. However, it is more likely that this smell is caused by mold.

Where Is Mold Most Likely to Grow in Home HVAC Systems?

If your furnace smells musty, that smell is probably due to mold. A few components of your HVAC system are likely to cultivate the growth of mold.

These areas are the ones most commonly exposed to moisture, including:

  • Air ducts
  • Drain line
  • Drain pan
  • Evaporator coil

Water condensation can build up inside or on the surfaces of these parts. If mold spores happen to land on the condensation, you can expect your HVAC air to smell musty.

If your HVAC smells musty, the best thing you can do is call a professional HVAC service to check out the situation and clean it out.

Remember, mold can be toxic. Breathing in moldy air for a significant amount of time can put your health at risk.

Should My New Furnace Smell Musty?

When you get any new appliance installed, there are usually a few hiccups to work through. Installing an HVAC system is no different.

Since a new furnace will have the job of heating a home, the first thing that happens when you get it up and running is that it will heat up.

HVAC manufacturers coat your new furnace components in protective oils. They do this to make sure that the furnace gets to you in mint condition. However, these oils, along with the dust that may have accumulated in the heat exchanger, can give off an awful smell when the new furnace begins to burn them off.

Luckily, you have nothing to worry about! This smell is temporary and should go away in a few hours. Once the debris has burned away, you shouldn’t smell anything from your new HVAC system.

However, if the smell persists, it is important to call a reliable HVAC service to check the system out to make sure that no mold has grown in the furnace while it was being stored or shipped.

What Do I Do When My Furnace Smells Musty?

If you notice a persistent musty smell coming from your electric furnace or gas furnace, then you need to call an HVAC specialist.

A musty odor indicates the presence of mold in or on your HVAC system. You can’t safely remove the culture yourself, and you shouldn’t attempt to at the risk of your health and safety.

The best thing to do is call a trustworthy team of HVAC specialists to come and inspect the issue. They will confirm the presence of mold and remove it safely from your furnace.

Contact TSS Home Comfort Today

When the air in your home smells musty, you need an HVAC service you can rely on. Call the team at TSS Home Comfort to fix your musty furnace smells!