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The Sounds and Smells of a Busted Furnace

An air filter next to a furnace chamber

The Sounds and Smells of a Busted Furnace

For the short period of time we rely on our furnaces, it can be frustrating when yours runs into a problem. You may wonder if it’s worth fixing or even struggle with identifying issues in the first place.

We’re focusing on two common ways you can discover an issue with your furnace: sounds and smells. Both issues can spell trouble and the following tips will help you keep your furnace running smoothly.


The main sounds you’ll want to look out for will come directly from your furnace. All units emit some noise, so you shouldn’t expect yours to be silent. But any changes from the norm should be investigated in order to rule out operation issues.

Common sounds that indicate a problem include:

  • Buzzing
  • Banging
  • Whistling
  • Screeching
  • Popping
  • Shaking

You should also listen for your ignition switch when your furnace turns on. If it takes several clicks (or more) to light, or it keeps clicking after already igniting the furnace, there may be an issue.


Smells from your furnace are a serious issue, so if something smells off near your furnace, call a professional immediately. A rotten egg smell may indicate a heat exchanger issue or even a gas leak. If you suspect a gas leak, you need to exit your home immediately, then call 911. Don’t call until you’ve exited the house.

A burning plastic smell is also a serious issue, as it could indicate a mechanical problem or an issue with the electrical connections within the furnace. Make sure to contact a professional if you smell this near your furnace.

Friendly Service, Expert Advice

The West Coast Air Conditioning team has all the resources you need to stay comfortable all year long. Contact our knowledgeable team today at (805) 954-9195 for more information on how we can help you.