Gas furnaces are a popular and affordable home heating solution. However, these units come with dangers like gas leaks, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or explosive fires. Knowing what to do if you smell gas from your furnace is vital to protect yourself, your family, and your home.
This article discusses normal gas furnace behaviors and the proper steps to take if you smell gas coming from your unit.
No matter the severity of your issues, Oakland Park’s furnace repair experts at Cool By Design can resolve furnace leaks and other repair needs. Contact us at 954-900-1098 for help regarding what to do if you smell gas from your furnace.
Understanding Natural Gas
The first step to take if you smell gas from your furnace is to understand how natural gas works. Natural gas is odorless and colorless. Because of its indiscernible properties, natural gas companies mix gas with mercaptan to give it its distinctive rotten egg odor.
While mercaptan is safe, natural gas harms you, your family, and your home. A leak can result in carbon monoxide poisoning or fire.
The smell of gas in your home doesn’t always indicate a problem. In some cases, smelling natural gas around the furnace is normal. With further investigation, you can determine whether you have a furnace gas leak or another related issue.
Seasonal Furnace Operation
Gas furnaces collect dust and debris when not in use. Debris may carry the scent of mercaptan throughout your air vents. This dust burns up when you turn on your furnace for the first time in the fall or winter.
If this odor persists when you run your furnace, it may indicate a more severe issue. Cleaning your furnace before running it for the first time in the year can help prevent the spread of mercaptan’s odor through burnt dust, pet hair, and other debris. Alternatively, you can rely on an HVAC professional to service your unit and turn it on.
Determine Whether You Have a Gas Leak
The next step regarding what to do if you smell gas from your furnace is to determine whether you have a gas leak. Regular furnace operation causes a small amount of gas to release every time the unit turns on. Briefly smelling mercaptan near the furnace is a regular occurrence that doesn’t require professional assistance.
If you detect a gas smell in your home, you must act fast to prevent severe accidents. Regular gas smells are abnormal and may indicate a leak. If your gas furnace odors persist past startup operations and burnt dust, you should look for other sources of the foul odor before contacting professionals.
The smell of gas could be from something else; however, this occurrence is rare. Sink garbage disposals and compost outside the home can smell like gas as food waste breaks down. Natural gas stoves and other household appliances using gas may also create a leak.
Possible Furnace Issues
As fuel leaves your property, common gas odors may come from the furnace exhaust. Malfunctioning exhausts can spread harmful fumes throughout your home. A correctly working furnace exhaust will expel excess gas into the environment instead of your household.
Smelling gas as your furnace heats is a symptom of potential ignition or combustion issues. Non-combusted gas can spread to other parts of your home or leak outside without proper burning. This issue is a major health hazard that can result in illness or death.
No matter the gas source, you need an emergency furnace repair if it gets into your home. HVAC professionals and your utility company work quickly to detect leaks and resolve them.
Look For Increasing Gas Odors
When gas spreads throughout your home, the next step regarding what to do if you smell gas from your furnace is to see whether the odor is present in every room. If it lingers near the furnace, you may only have a minor issue on your hands. However, if the gas has spread to all rooms of your house, you will need immediate assistance.
Evacuate your home if you smell gas in every room, as this is a sign of a potentially life-threatening emergency. Contact your utility company and HVAC professionals like the ones standing by at Cool By Design for help repairing your furnace.
Blockages in your furnace’s exhaust can create highly flammable gas buildup. Gas smells outside the home also pose a threat. Leave the property and get emergency help to prevent outdoor explosions.
Find Other Symptoms of a Leak
If you notice that tell-tale odor and are wondering what to do if you smell gas from your furnace, you should also look for other leak symptoms. Assuming you are not yet facing an emergency, you will want to check out the furnace and the area around it directly. Sometimes, you may hear a hissing noise near your furnace as gas leaks out of the pipe. These leaks may also affect other gas appliances and cause performance issues.
Exterior signs of a leak include discolored grass near your gas line outside or dead flowers from harmful fumes. Gas may bubble up from the ground as it leaks out of the gas line under your yard.
If you notice these signs in addition to the presence of mercaptan, a gas leak is likely. Seeking emergency help is essential for preventing explosions and more significant leaks. Avoid running gas appliances further, and don’t try to resolve the symptoms yourself.
Use a Carbon Monoxide Detector
If you’re unsure whether you have a furnace leak, another option is to use a carbon monoxide detector. These units detect levels of carbon monoxide in the air. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that results when gas burns incorrectly.
As your furnace combusts gas, carbon monoxide exits your home through the furnace’s exhaust. A damaged or blocked flue may cause these fumes to accumulate and spread to other rooms. A malfunctioning combustion chamber also leads to improper combustion and creates carbon monoxide.
While carbon monoxide detectors don’t detect gas leaks, they can alert you to excess carbon monoxide in the air, which may signify a leak. A carbon monoxide detector in your home is vital to avoid inhaling these toxic gases. If your detector goes off, exit your home immediately.
Get Regular Furnace Inspections and Maintenance
Keeping your furnace in excellent shape prevents you from worrying about what to do if you smell gas from your furnace. Scheduling twice-yearly inspections and maintenance can help you avoid furnace leaks and catch minor issues before they worsen. Professional HVAC technicians have the licensure, bonding, and insurance to complete a safe repair.
Regular inspections are the most effective solution to prevent gas leaks. Technicians inspect your furnace for damaged piping, blocked flues, and mechanical issues that may cause a leak. They implement the proper solutions to strengthen your furnace’s components to ensure they work properly.
During maintenance appointments, an HVAC professional will clean your furnace to prevent dust, debris, pet hair, and other contaminants from absorbing the smell of mercaptan and spreading it throughout your home. Your furnace will have a longer lifespan and fewer repair needs.
Furnace maintenance brings many benefits. You will see energy efficiency increases and notice that your furnace takes less time to heat your home thoroughly. You’ll rest knowing that your furnace works properly and runs more affordably.
Our Furnace Repair Service
The Cool By Design team is ready to assist with your furnace repair needs after symptoms of gas leaks present themselves. We respond quickly and bring over 15 years of expertise to your emergency gas leak repair services. Our team knows what to do if you smell gas from your furnace and can walk you through safely evacuating your home.
Our professionals have the precision and high-quality tools to detect your furnace’s gas leak and prevent fires and explosions. No matter the severity of your gas furnace’s issues, we perform accurate repairs that help avoid future issues for years.
Cool By Design follows a streamlined process to diagnose your furnace’s issues and implement the right solutions. Our transparent business operation means we’ll never charge you for services you don’t need. Trust us for our friendly professionals, years of experience, and fast emergency response times.
Contact Our Team Today
Cool By Design is your leading HVAC company serving Oakland Park, FL, and the surrounding areas. No matter your HVAC issues, we have the knowledge and skill to resolve cooling and heating needs, gas leaks, and more. We understand the severity of HVAC emergencies and arrive promptly with adequate services.
If you face furnace problems, contact our professionals today to learn why your furnace is not working. We can answer your questions, alert you on what to do if you smell gas from your furnace, and ensure you get the proper services.
Don’t let a faulty furnace lead to a gas leak or worse! Get expert assistance today from Cool By Design in Oakland Park, FL. Call 954-900-1098.