It’s natural to smell a burning or musty smell the first time the heating system is activated after months of non-use. A musty smell fills the air, dust may fly, and unpleasant odors permeate the whole house quickly. If your heating system is healthy and well maintained, the smell should dissipate quickly.
Should it not, occupants are likely to experience any number of unpleasant symptoms like sneezing and coughing as debris flies around. Let’s talk about why this occurs, what symptoms to look out for and how you can prevent and resolve the issue.
The Source of Smelly Heating Systems
When an HVAC system or furnace-fired system sits unused for long periods, dust tends to collect in air ducts and on the heat exchanger. This dust and other particulates will pour through the vents and into the home. However, other issues can cause this smell.
Bearings in the motor can freeze, belts can dry out and crack, and dirty air ducts or filters can also be major contributors. Most of these issues can be prevented with proper heating and cooling maintenance services bi-annually.
Potential Health Symptoms
Your heating system could be the source of certain symptoms similar to seasonal allergies.
- Nose Congestion
- Watery, Itchy or Dry Eyes
- Dry, Itchy Skin
- Sore Throat
- Exacerbation of Allergies
How to Prevent and Resolve Smelly Heating Issues
It’s perfectly normal to only smell that odor briefly when turning the heat on for the first time each season. To avoid more serious problems, we offer you these useful tips to eradicate and counteract them.
Air Ducts: Cleaning air ducts annually removes any accumulated dust, spores, and debris.
Filters: Change air filters regularly, and use a HEPA filter for extra-clean air both in ducts and the home. Changing frequency will vary depending on type.
Heat Exchanger: Heat exchangers collect dust over a few months of stagnancy. Get a professional cleaning.
Motor and Bearing: After sitting a while in warm weather and not being moved, these can freeze up. Lubrication might free them up.
Fan Belt: These can dry out over time and wear out after a hot summer. Replace them to see if this resolves your issue.
Don’t Take on Heating Repairs Alone — Call the Pros at Knight’s Mechanical
We can help you get things running smoothly before the change of season with routine maintenance and professional repairs for heating and cooling systems. Keep your air clean year-round by contacting Knight’s Mechanical today.