Name that Smell: The Difference between Life and Death

It’s starting to cool down in Greenville, NC and you know what that means; it’s time to turn on the heater and prep for the winter. When your home heating system is in good condition, the system will operate without producing any odors. However, if you do begin to notice an odor, it is best to diagnose the odor immediately from the first smell. To help you diagnose the severity of your heater condition we have compiled a list of common smells from least to most severe. Keep reading to learn more!


Dead Animal Smell

If you turn on your heat for the first time this season and smell a dead animal esque smell, it may be exactly what you’re thinking. It is very possible for small animals such as mice to get into the heating system and die. The smell should immediately go away once the animal is found and removed.


Burning Dust Smell

Unlike a dead animal being stuck in your vents, this is a problem that will resolve itself.  Dust that accumulates on system components could get hot when the system operates causing this smell. This is very common when heating systems are first started after being idle over the summer. If you are unsure, however, it’s best to give us a call at Pitt Electric just to be on the safe side.


Electrical Smell

If you smell something that smells similar to electrical wires burning, shut down the system and call us for service. This odor can indicate overheating as well as problems with motors, wiring, or electrical components. It can also indicate the pending failure of a blower motor. This is not something you should wait out and see how things go. The system should immediately be shut down and the problem should be fixed as soon as possible.


Smoke or Burning Smells

The smell of burning wires, plastic insulation, or other materials inside the system could indicate overheating. Overheating is a very serious issue because it could be the sign of a fire. The sight of smoke is also a major indicator of this. Shut the system off and call the HVAC professionals at Pitt Electric who will locate the source of the odor and solve the problem.


Rotten Egg Smell

The natural gas that is used in heating systems us colorless and odorless, making it hard to recognize when it is leaking. Because of this gas companies add a chemical to cause the rotten egg smell. If the odor is strong it most likely means there’s a gas leak. First open all your windows to provide ventilation, next shut off your heating system, next, if possible, leave your house immediately. From there call your gas company or local fire department for help.

It is our mission here at Pitt Electric to bring value to our customers on every job while providing a healthy, safe and rewarding environment for our employees to work and provide for their families. For more information about our services rendered please feel free to stop by our website or contact us!