Boiler Smells in Chicago, IL

Why Your Chicago, IL, Boiler Smells – and How to Fix It

January 28, 2021

Energy-efficiency and rapid, powerful heat delivery make boiler systems a popular choice for homeowners in Chicago, IL. However, if your system has a problem, it might emit an unusual smell. Properly identifying the different types of smells that might come from your boiler could help you diagnose problems and contact a professional faster.

Burning Smell

It’s normal to smell occasional burning from the boiler. When dust and debris particles fall on the metal heating coil, they burn. So, as the boiler heats up, it emits a burning smell.

Normally, the burning smell disappears within 30 minutes or so. However, if the smell doesn’t disappear or happens too frequently, it’s likely emanating from the air filter. In this case, changing the filter should eliminate the smell.

Rotten Egg or Cabbage Smell

A continuous rotten egg or cabbage smell can indicate a bad burner or flue. It can also indicate bacteria growth in certain boiler components. However, it almost always indicates a gas leak.

This smell is the result of chemicals added to natural gas to help you identify gas leakage. Leaking natural gas is highly toxic, flammable, and combustible. If you smell gas, turn off your system, leave the house, and call a specialist for an immediate boiler inspection.

Gas Fume Smell

Many boilers use natural gas or propane to produce the heat needed to warm your home. Leaking gas has an additive that emits a rotten egg smell, but leaking propane emits a gaseous or “gas fume smell.” It’s like the smell of crude oil. Loose connections or faulty valves are often the cause of the leaks that create these smells.

Musty Smell

Organic growth can buildup when your boiler is off during warm seasons. This can cause a musty smell when you turn the boiler on in winter. To prevent this problem, call our team at Besco Air Inc. Heating & Cooling for regular boiler maintenance.

Image provided by iStock

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