Why Does My Heater Smell?

Why Does My Heater Smell?It’s the first chilly day, and as you turn the heat on in your office or workspace. You notice a funky smell. You may be wondering why does my heater smell? While it is tempting to ignore it, some scents indicate significant issues, and you should never brush them off. Here are some problems to look out for when your heater is smelling less than fresh.

Musty Smell

If your HVAC system smells like mildew or a damp basement or locker room, it could indicate bacteria growth. If you turn your A/C off and on during hot weather, the summer humidity mixed with the cool air running through your vents creates a perfect environment for mildew. You need to call a professional to have your system evaluated and properly cleaned. Additionally, in some instances, the coils may need replacing.

Burning Smell

  • Burning Dust – Because the heat if off all summer, dust and debris can collect on the heating elements. So, the first time the heat is switched on this dust will usually burn off in a few minutes. If the smell lasts longer than 30 minutes, though, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.
  • Neglected System – A burning smell could be because your system is old and desperately in need of maintenance. We cannot stress enough the importance of a regular maintenance contract. It not only prolongs the life of your system but often catches an issue before it grows into a major problem.
  • Closed Vents – Make sure to open all the vents in your space. If they are closed or blocked off, the warm air gets trapped. Preventing air flow will cause a variety of issues with your HVAC system.
  • Clogged Filters – Clogged filters cause your heater to become overworked, thus causing a burning smell. This is why we recommend that you change your filters at the very least every season. Please note, that other factors may cause your filters to clog up faster, though. If your workplace is in a dusty environment or a heavy traffic area, the filters have to work harder to clean the air. In this case, it is a good idea to check on the filters at least monthly and change as needed.

Rotten Egg Smell

If you turn the heater on and notice a rotten eggs smell, you need to take action right away. It may indicate a natural gas leak. Natural gas usually smells odorless. A compound is added to it by the utility company to give off a foul odor so that you can quickly detect a leak. If you smell rotten eggs or sulfur, proceed with caution, and never ignore it.

  • Turn off your thermostat right away.
  • Call the utility company immediately.
  • Evacuate your staff, and you may want to alert neighbors if you are in a large office building.

While these actions seem dramatic, a natural gas leak is no joke. The situation can turn dangerous rather quickly, so it is best to err on the side of caution.

So, this year on the first chilly day you notice a strange aroma and are wondering why does my heater smell?  We urge you to not ignore it. Contact The Severn Group for a full evaluation of your commercial HVAC system. Better yet, schedule an appointment today!