Tips, Tricks, and HVAC Expertise Blog

Tips, Tricks, and HVAC Expertise Blog

What's That Smell?! Which odors signal trouble with your company’s furnace

Unpleasant odors in the air can indicate trouble with your heating and cooling system.  Being aware of what are associated with normal operation and which signal the need for maintenance or repair can mean the difference between an affordable service call and a costly repair.  You don’t need to be an expert in furnace repair to identify these warning signs of potential issues and take swift action to ensure the appropriate remedy.

It pays to take notice of smells and not to become complacent about them.  By noticing unusual smells and bringing them to someone’s attention, you may not only save the company money, but you may also prevent a serious situation such as fire or explosion which can jeopardize health and safety. Some emergency response agencies report that they are glad to investigate reports of strange smells, as they often are the earliest indicators of a potential hazard that prevents property damage and the loss of life.

Here are four smells that you should be aware of:

Dusty burning smell

This is one that will be most common to building occupants.  As with our homes, in our business, we often experience what smells like smoldering dust when the heating system is turned on for the first time in the season.  This scent usually dissipates within the first hour of the heat running and this is normal for the start ofthe season.  It is simply the system adjusting to the dust that may have accumulated in the vents during the off-season.

If the smell persists,your first course of action may be to check the air filter and ensure that it is being replaced on at least an annual basis. In the case of a commercial building, you may want to increase the frequency of replacing the air filter to seasonally depending on the environment and the volume of air that you are circulating for the year round operation of your heating and cooling system.

If replacing the air filter still does not address the problem, in Edmonton you may want to give us a call at Furnace Solutions to investigation possible causes for the ongoing unusual odors.

Mechanical smells

Mechanical odors may include the smell of burning rubber or the smells associated with increased friction to other mechanical components of your furnace.  Mechanical smells can often be the first reminder that your regular/seasonal servicing of your system needs to scheduled at your earliest opportunity.  Mechanical smells are an indicator of wear and tear on your system that requires attention.  This is the best time to be proactive to ensure timely intervention of component performance to prevent larger problems with your heating and cooling system.

Electrical smells

Sometimes described as a burning metal smell, electrical odors in your building are indicative of a situation within your furnace where internal components are getting hot when perhaps they shouldn’t be.  This smell is usually a signal that an operational malfunction is causing your furnace to overheat.  Left unattended, this may escalate to a full-scale fire situation, so you may want to turn off the unit as soon as possible and have it looked at.

Rotten egg smell

This one is the most serious of all odors that you may detect with your residential or commercial heating system.  The sulphurous odor is an additive that many gas companies add to their natural gas supply, which is naturally odorless, as a safety measure to indicate that there may be a gas leak on the premises.  Should you detect a rotten egg smell on the property, you should immediately evacuate the building until the threat of a possible gas leak has been addressed.

One important detail to remember when it relates to the safety of your workplace is that if you allow a situation to escalate to the point where emergency response agencies are required to attend, such as the fire department, they may diagnose an operational or mechanical deficiency or a gas leak.  However, the mandate of these agencies relates to the safety of the persons on site and prevention of property damage, they do not correct the issue.  For that, you need to rely on certified technicians that are trained in the repair and maintenance of your system.

At Furnace Solutions, we employ our expertise to keep Edmonton commercial heating systems running in peak condition.  We pride ourselves on preventive maintenance and comprehensive repair to furnace and HVAC systems.  Are you concerned by unusual odors in your workplace?  Give us a call and our team will come check it out.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Call today.

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