When your home's furnace is running, you are probably accustomed to a couple of smells that can sometimes come out of the vent. For example, if you have not had the heater on for a while, you know that the air coming out of the vents will smell a little musty as the settled dust burns off. However, if you detect either of the smells below, it is most likely indicative of a problem with your furnace that needs repairing.
1. Strong Smell Resembling Burning Plastic
One odor that you may smell that indicates that there is a problem with your furnace is one that resembles the odor of burning plastic. If you start to smell this odor, first look to see if any plastic pieces are close to the heating unit or even laying across the vents before you jump to the conclusion that the problem is within the furnace.
If you do not find any explainable source of the odor, however, this could mean that the circuit board inside of the furnace has either fried a circuit or the casing is melting. If you do not have a professional inspect and replace the circuit board and find the reason why it started having issues to begin with, your furnace may eventually not turn on.
2. Odor That Has a Heavy Metallic Characteristic
Another problematic odor of which you should be aware is one that has a heavy metallic characteristic. The smell will resemble that of a metal being held under a flame. If you do not know how that smells, place a nickel under the tongue to get the same effect, as the taste will affect your olfactory nerves and give you a false odor.
If you do detect a metallic odor coming from your furnace, this is most often caused by electric wires that are shorting out or touching one another. Since this scenario could cause an electrical fire if an arc of electricity shoots too far and comes into contact with something flammable, it is vital that you do not wait to have your furnace checked out.
If you detect either of the above odors while your furnace is running, there may be a serious issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Contact an HVAC contractor who offers heating repair services to have them inspect the unit, find the problem, and discuss your options for fixing it.