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Smells That Indicate a Problem with Your Heater

Domestic Hot Water Systems

Our heaters are going full blast as we officially enter the winter season this week, and with the weather expected to get chillingly cold here in Avon, OH, you need your heater to function as expected every time. Prudent homeowners should be on the lookout for anything unusual with their heating systems, and that can include smells as well as sights and sounds. Odd odors aren’t unusual, but they often indicate a problem, and while the system may sometimes shut down automatically in the face of them (depending upon the make and model), it still needs addressing before you can use your heater effectively. Possible smells can include the following:


Gas is odorless and tasteless which is why a distinctive rotten-egg smell is added to help you detect a leak. Modern furnaces have safety features that will cut off the flow of gas once detected, but if you smell gas, you should turn off the system and get everyone (including pets) out of the home.


A burning smell usually indicates that something in the system is melting or burning: anything from electrical wiring to rubber parts to serious components like the fan motor. Again, modern systems have an automatic shut-off feature that will turn the heater off once these smells are detected, but if you have an older system, it pays to keep a healthy eye out.


Dust is a normal smell when you first turn your heater on after months of it sitting idle, but if it continues, you may need to do a bit more. Change your filter and/or schedule maintenance to eliminate the odor.

If you detect any kind of odd odor coming from your heater, don’t try to diagnose the problem yourself. Instead, call Westland Heating & Air Conditioning to take care of the problem properly.

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