What Causes That Strange/Stinky Smell With Heat

chuehFebruary 23, 2013

Last winter, I noticed a stinky strange smell blowing into the air when the heater was running once in a while. This winter, it has happened again, yet gets worse and worse. Now, it's 5 or 6 times per day out of the running times the heater is running.

It's definitely not the burning smell when the heater starts to run for the first time in winter while it has not been used for a while. I don't know how to describe the smell, yet it is the SAME smell 3 years after I bought a brand new car. It never happens in Summer time but only in winter when the heater is running, both the car and the house.

Is there mold or something in the duct? or an animal???

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srjohnt

I'm confused . Could you elaborate on just how the car is involved?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 7:55AM
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energy_rater_la

what does it smell like?
death...decomposition of animal in duct
or wet/moldy?

where are ducts located? attic
basement or crawlspace

is the furnace new?

any modifications to ducts, returns
or anything that involved sealants?

more info please.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 11:18AM
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chueh

Hm... It does not smell wet, yet it doesn't smell as bad as animal decomposed.. The smell stinks yet not make me vomit.

The ducts are in the attic.

Furnace is about 7 years old

Nothing has been done to the ducts or returns.

srjohnt, I was comparing both the house and the car smell exactly the same.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 3:47PM
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srjohnt

OK, so you're saying that it smells like the car's exhaust? If that's the case, you may have a cracked heat exchanger, or a vent problem.

This post was edited by srjohnt on Sun, Feb 24, 13 at 16:10

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:07PM
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energy_rater_la

have hvac pro check it out.
maybe he/she can put a name to the
smell.

gas furnace?

best of luck.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 5:39PM
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chueh

Thanks for all the replies. srjohnt, I need to clarify more; sorry for the confusion. It's not the car's exhaustion smell. The car had the exact same smell when the heat was running inside, as the house's. In summer, when the A/C is running, there is no funny smell either in the house or the car. The smell is not like bad emission, exhaust, engine burned, oily, or any industrial kind of smell

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 5:58PM
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dadoes

Is it a heat pump system?

Heat Pump Dirty Sock Syndrome

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 9:41PM
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chueh

Yes, it is a heat pump.

OK...yeah, "heat pump dirty sock syndrome" makes sense

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:44AM
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