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Well, you see smoke billowing out of your vents after you just turned on your furnace.

Is everything alright?

You can tell if it is okay by simply smelling the smoke from the vents.

Sweet syrupy smell means everything is fine

You will most likely smell a pleasant maple-like smell if you just got a brand new furnace. This normally happens after you fire it up for the first time.

If all you smell is the syrup-like scent don’t worry. The heat exchanger has a thin coating of oil that burns off as you break-in your furnace.

Here’s an example:

The oil coating has the important job of protecting the heat exchanger. Without the oil your system will start to rust before it arrives to your home.

When you get your system installed the technician who installed it should run your system to remove some of the oil. You will smell the burning oil now if they didn’t run it for that long.

Hint: Open a few windows to let you home air out while you run the furnace. You should contact a service technician if you continue to see smoke coming from the vents.

Soot smell means there’s a big problem

If you have an older furnace that smells like soot you may have a serious problem. You should look into getting it fixed very soon.

Hint: Call a service technician and turn off your furnace immoderately.

4 Reasons the smell of soot isn’t good

  1. Soot happens after incomplete combustion. That means your furnace probably isn’t lighting completely or is just inefficient.
  2. The soot might have been deposited on the heat exchanger. The soot will start to insulate you heat exchanger, which isn’t a good thing. If your heat exchanger is insulated it will increase your gas bill because it is being inefficient.
  3. The soot can catch on fire! Soot is combustible, so if too much builds up your vents may catch on fire.
  4. You might have a cracked heat exchanger. This may cause excess soot to access the vents. Unfortunately, not only is soot entering your home, toxic fumes are as well!

If you do have a cracked heat-exchanger, You need to get it replaced. If your system is geting old or you have been having a lot of issues with it you should fully replace your system.

Here’s an example: