Gas-powered furnaces are a popular choice for heating in many homes across Salt Lake City and countrywide. Both natural gas and propane, the two gases used in gas-powered furnaces are naturally odorless. However, gas companies are required to include a sulfur-smelling additive, which produces a smell similar to that of rotten eggs, for easy detection when some of this gas gets into the air.
Why does your furnace smell like gas? There are instances when the smell of this gas is no cause for concern. Other times, you have every reason to be worried and should not delay calling for a furnace service.
Here is a look at why your furnace smells like gas and what to do in these circumstances.
- Gas or Burning Smell Caused By Dust
A build-up of dust on your unit over the months when it lies idle and unused is expected. This ingress of dust can extend to the burners and heat exchanger. When you first turn on the furnace, you may notice a little gas odor as the furnace clears out debris and burns out the dust.
The smell will usually go away on its own within a few hours. You can cut how long the smell lingers by opening a window, as the cross ventilation will help to clear the smell faster.
- Emissions During Cycling On
It is perfectly normal for your furnace to emit some small amount of gas when it is kicking on. The smell is usually quite faint as it is only a small amount of gas released, and for a short time. However, you should worry and make a point of getting in touch with a trusted furnace service provider in the Salt Lake City area if the smell persists for too long after the furnace burners have ignited and have been running.
- Gas Leaks and Delayed Ignition
Any other time you notice the smell of gas around your furnace apart from the instances already outlined, you should know that you have cause for worry. This is because the smell is more than likely due to a gas leak, in which case you should get on the phone right away and call a professional furnace repair service company
How do you know you have a gas leak on your hands? Here are some of the signs and indicators that you should call your service company:
- If the smell is strong and constant enough that you don’t really have to sniff around to pick up on the gas odor
- You hear a whistling or hissing sound near the furnace
- Your gas detectors go off
Causes of Furnace Gas Leaks
Your furnace may start to leak gas because of any one or several reasons. A gas leak can result from the following:
- A cracked heat exchanger, which may result from overheating
- Cracked or damaged gas line. This can be from someone bumping into the gas line or furnace, or following a disturbance such as an earthquake, however small.
- Ignition failure due to poor furnace maintenance.
Safety First: Best Practices
If the gas smell is so strong, you hear a hissing sound from the furnace, or your detectors go off, as highlighted, you need to turn off the furnace and call the professionals. It is good to know how to easily turn off the gas at the outdoor meter in the event of concern.
Staying in the exposure of gas will put you at risk of gas poisoning, which can damage your organs, and in extreme cases, is fatal. Creating a spark of any type, by lighting a match, lighter, or any form of electrical charge in the presence of combustible gas is a big safety risk, as the likelihood of a fire or explosion is higher. Step outside or wait with a neighbor in colder weather until help arrives.
Furnace Maintenance for Gas Leak Prevention
Furnace service experts recommend that you regularly maintain and service your furnace for several reasons, including preventing gas leaks. The experts can diagnose and resolve a damaged gas line, cracked heat exchanger, and malfunctioning ignition, among other problems that can result in gas leaks. You should do a tune-up every few months in compliance with recommendations from both the manufacturer and HVAC experts to ensure that your furnace is in top shape.
Call the Experts
Did you notice a gas smell from your furnace? As outlined above, it may be quite normal and nothing to worry about, but it may also be very serious, as in the case of a severe gas leak. Better to stay safe, and call your trusted furnace service Salt Lake City company to inspect, diagnose, and fix the cause of the smell. For safety reasons, ensure that you call for professional help as soon as possible.