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Furnace odours can be pretty common, especially if they have been on hiatus. It is a usual scenario and is harmless primarily to the residents of your home. While they usually are not an area of concern, some need immediate attention. A chemical smell from furnace vents is one example.

Below, we will be discussing what could be the factor behind this smell and why you must attend to it right away. We will also look into the other common furnace odours you might smell and discuss if they are a potential threat to you and your whole household.

What’s with the chemical scent?

The chemical smell from furnace ducts can be an indicator of something serious. Once you detect this right away, immediately call a professional for assistance.

Your furnace has a vital component called the heat exchanger. Its primary function is removing the heated air from the combustion chamber and dispersing them throughout your house. Over time, this component could bear cracks that cause system leaks. One should not take it lightly as this situation could seriously threaten you and your family’s health. This scenario is what’s typically called carbon monoxide poisoning. While it could trigger respiratory failure, it can also lead to fire hazards within your residence. 

Before calling your technician, make sure you and all family members are out of the house first. To further avoid such instances, make sure you invest in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors for better home protection.  

What are the other common odours associated with my furnace that I need to worry about?

Aside from that chemical smell from furnace ducts and registers, there are other usual odours you might encounter along the way. As we have noted above, most of them are not something that should worry you. But that doesn’t mean you have to ignore everything.

A burning, electrical type of odour is one of those you should not put aside. It might signal that your wires are fried and your furnace overheats. When loose wires and heat, they could trigger a fire. Once you smell this odour, call your technician after shutting off the heating system entirely. The smell of smoke or sometimes its presence through your vents is a sign of system fire. It could be that one of the components of the system has been faulty and caught fire. You have to power down your furnace and take your family outdoors for safety reasons. 

On the other hand, a musty odour means mould is building up within your inner duct walls. Mould can cause health problems, especially for those with a weaker immune and respiratory system. Regardless, no one wants mould particles circulating within the indoor airflow. Have your technician schedule a thorough cleaning and inspection to resolve this. 


While a chemical smell from furnace vents is not entirely rare, it is an issue that needs an immediate solution. Besides being an extremely combustible material, carbon monoxide can also inflict serious health problems on you and your family. Always keep in mind to contact your trusted expert in Toronto for such instances. 


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