The Nose Knows – Don’t Ignore These 4 Smells Coming From Your Heating and Cooling System

With the amount of information and notifications we receive on a daily basis, it would be impossible to give our attention to every alert, beep, or buzz. So we’ve become experts at ignoring spam phone calls, fast-forwarding through commercial, and perhaps even tuning out overly opinionated friends on social media.

That is all well and good but when it comes to the heating and cooling system of your home, there are a few signs of danger that you should be aware of – and definitely not ignore.

  1. Burning smells – Heating and cooling systems do burn off energy but they’re designed to vent combustion gases outside. So if you notice any burning smells, that’s a clear sign that something isn’t right. Turn off the HVAC unit right away and call an HVAC professional.
  2. Rotten egg odor – You need to act fast if you get a whiff of rotting eggs (assuming you’re not trying a new recipe in the kitchen). For public safety, utility companies add a harmless chemical called mercaptan to the natural gas supply. Since natural gas is otherwise odorless, this rotten egg smell alerts us to gas leaks that can result in explosions. In this scenario, get everyone out of the home and call the gas company right away.
  3. Musty or moldy smells. Organisms such as mildew and mold love damp, dark areas. For the most part, your HVAC system is designed to deal with moisture so bacteria and fungi aren’t able to grow. But if there’s a blockage or leak somewhere, it can lead to growth and unpleasant smells, especially in damp spaces like basements and bathrooms. Mold can be dangerous to your health and can cause significant property damage. So if you notice this type of smell, bring in an HVAC professional to inspect your system and find the source of the moisture problem.
  4. Electrical smell. This one is harder to describe but essentially it’s the smell of an electrical component overheating. Whether due to a faulty component or improper installation, it’s possible for motors, circuits, and wiring to go bad. At best, this can damage your heating or cooling system and cause it to stop working. At worst, it can result in a fire. Whenever you’re dealing with electricity, it’s highly recommend you bring in a professional to avoid the risk of electrical shock.

What to do next

You don’t have to be an HVAC expert to catch a potentially dangerous situation in your home.

Trust your nose – if something smells off, don’t ignore the issue. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Call Robert B. Payne Inc. to schedule an emergency service visit. Our experienced HVAC professionals will inspect your systems and repair whatever is causing the suspicious smell, which could prevent a disastrous situation from happening in your home. Contact us or call (540) 373-5876 today.