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Feb 15

Eliminating That Pesky Burning Furnace Odor

 

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

There are a few reasons why there might be a smoky kind of odor emanating from your furnace. One may be the ventilation system taking it back to the house, instead of venting it outside. Another may be a warning that there are materials in the furnace itself that are burning – that shouldn’t be. Regardless of why, it shouldn’t be happening, whether or not you are using one that burns oil. Here are a few tips to try:

Clean it inside and out.

First, turn off the breaker of the furnace, to avoid shock. Using a stiff, non-metal brush, as you do not wish to scratch the unit, clean the outside of the furnace. Then remove the cover and clean that from top to bottom with the brush. This removes the ash and all the dust. Then vacuum around the burners and everywhere you can reach. Next, wipe down the whole unit, inside and out, with white vinegar, rinsing it down next with a damp cloth of regular water. Replace the cover.

Check the heat exchanger.

Check the heat exchanger. In some cases, there will be a panel for easy access. A crack or hole can be fairly serious, as there is potential for carbon monoxide to mix with the household air. You may be able to get by with replacing just the heat exchanger, instead of the entire furnace. Regardless, it is good to make sure your carbon monoxide alarm is always in working condition in any household.

Replace filters on a regular basis.

Turn off the furnace. Open service panel, normally located on the front or side bottom half. Slide out the rectangular screen (vertical or horizontal). If a plastic or metal frame, take special note how it is oriented, prior to removing it. Once removed, spray it off with the garden hose, let it air dry and then replace in the same direction. If disposable, you may wish to always have several on hand. Write down the number or take the filter with you to the store to ensure the correct sizing. Replace in the same direction. This is one of those little chores that make a world of difference between a great running furnace and not!

Let it run for an hour or so.

If the furnace has been left off for a season or even a couple of weeks, there is a chance that simply letting it run continuously for a while will help. If this is the case, the odor will go away on its own.

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