HVAC system odors
January 30, 2016

When to Worry: HVAC System Odors and What They Mean

indoor odor

After living in your Charlottesville, Virginia, home for a while, you begin to recognize and become accustomed to common odors throughout your home. The problem arises when an unfamiliar smell comes through your vents or drains, and impacts the air throughout your home. These odors are not always signs of something serious, but you would never want to ignore a suspicious smell throughout your home. Many of these smells will warrant a call to an expert to have them taken care of professionally.

Animals

Some odors are caused by animals – living or dead somewhere in your ductwork. The smell could be caused by the animal itself or its excrement. If the animal is alive, you will probably see other signs of your new houseguest. You may hear the animals scurrying around. Or you may see evidence that they have been eating your food. You may also see excrement throughout your home. Take care of your unwanted roommate as soon as possible, since small rodents and bugs breed quickly and the problem may escalate. Bugs and other animals living in your ductwork can also negatively affect your air quality.

You will need to take immediate action as soon as you realize there is an animal in your system. Apart from causing damage to your system, the waste and odors from the animals can make you ill. It is best to contact a professional to remove the animal from your system. Sometimes they find their way out, but they can also become trapped.

Gas Odors

If you smell gas, it is important to find source immediately. That does not mean you should wander around the house trying to locate the problem. As quickly as possible make sure your burners and any other gas-emitting appliance is turned off. If these are already off, you may have a leak somewhere. It is best to leave the premises and contact the fire department. Do not light any matches or lighters if you smell gas in your home, as it is highly flammable even in small amounts. The gas smell could be coming from your furnace.

You will not be able to smell some gases like carbon monoxide or radon. Carbon monoxide detectors are extremely important. Anytime you are dealing with leaking gas, it is best to contact an expert as soon as possible.

Mold

Mold has a pretty pungent smell and is easy to spot. However quite often, you will smell molds but not see them – particularly if they are forming behind areas like your walls. It is not unusual to have mold in your bathroom or other damp areas such as your basement. It is important to address mold issues immediately since it can spread and cause health concerns for your family. Prolonged exposure to mold can cause cold-like symptoms, trigger asthma attacks, and respiratory illness.

Musty Smell

It is likely that there could be a musty odor when you turn on your furnace for the first time. Dirt and dust that collected in the system during the time it sat unused, all of a sudden get burned off or blown through your home. Although the dust does affect your air quality, it is only temporary. You should also check your air filter. If the smell persists, contact your HVAC professional as soon as possible.

Drain Odor

If you smell anything unusual coming through your drains, it is likely that you have some sort of a blockage somewhere in your plumbing system. Sometimes using an inexpensive clog remover is all you need to remove the blockage and get your pipes up and running again. At other times, you will need a plumber to remove the obstruction. If it smells like sewage, it points to a bigger problem that you need to address sooner rather than later.

Funny smells throughout your home can sometimes lead to big headaches. Don’t hesitate to call in an expert immediately to find and address the problem. If you are concerned about any suspicious odor call your experts at W.E. Brown, Inc. today at (434) 295-1177.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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