Fall is here!
As everybody knows, October is here! Which means the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and the temperature is beginning to drop! This is the time when everyone begins starting up your furnaces after a long summer, and you start noticing odd odors.
I am going to start off with saying that most furnaces last between 15-25 years. And just like everything else, it needs professional service. Most professionals recommend servicing every 1-2 years, depending on the age of your unit. Also, you should be changing your filter every 4-6 weeks.
Now if you notice a musty smell, it could be caused by mold or mildew that developed over the summer, and calling a company to come have your system cleaned would be your best bet. However, there are some odors that you should be alarmed by; such as a burning, or a gas smell. In those situations I would HIGHLY recommend you shut down your system and have a local HVAC contractor come and evaluate the situation. Shutting down your system is quite easy; you can either shut off the thermostat, or to ensure no one in your family turns it back on you can shut it off at the service switch which is located directly next to the furnace. As seen in the picture below.
Also, every house needs carbon monoxide and smoke detectors! Having a smoke detector in each room, and a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the house is probably the best purchase you can make for a house.
I never recommend a homeowner to attempt to service their own furnace, but if you inspect the outside of the furnace or if you manage to take off the front cover and see excessive rust, corrosion, or an irregular flame pattern you should call a HVAC contractor to come service your system.
Your furnace and air conditioner are one of the most expensive purchases you might have to make for your home, so take care of them and have them serviced to keep them running as efficient as possible.