As long as you’re comfortable, you probably don’t pay much attention to the HVAC system in your Newport News, Virginia, home. But if you catch a whiff of anything strange coming from your system, you shouldn’t ignore it. Certain smells coming from your HVAC system can indicate a potential problem and should be checked out.


If your system is new, it may give off a slight burning odor the first few times you run the heat. Similarly, you might detect a smoky burning odor the first time you run your system after a long period of not using it. An electrical burning odor is often a sign of overheated wiring. If the smell dissipates quickly, it’s probably not too worrisome. However, if it continues to permeate your home, contact an HVAC professional.

Rotten Eggs

The sulfuric smell of rotten eggs usually indicates a gas leak, which is a dangerous situation. If the leaking gas comes into contact with a flame or spark, an explosion could result. If you smell sulfur, shut off your system and call your local gas company immediately. You might also need to have an HVAC technician assess the cause of the leak and repair it.

Musty Odor

A musty odor can indicate the presence of moisture in your ducts or elsewhere in the system. Excess moisture can lead to biological growth, which can lower your indoor air quality and cause allergy symptoms. If there’s a musty smell coming from your HVAC unit, get it checked out.


If anyone smokes inside your house, your HVAC system can trap those odors and recirculate them every time it runs. Smoke can also get trapped in the evaporator coil. If there’s a smoker in your family, you should have a professional clean the coil regularly.

If there are strange odors coming from your HVAC system, take them seriously and give us a call at 757-251-0579. Our team of HVAC pros at Lighthouse Mechanical Heating and Cooling is here to help with all your HVAC needs.

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