What is that strange smell coming from my heater?

My sense of smell is more sensitive than most.  I discovered it when I was picking flowers with my siblings at four years old.  We would walk to the back edge of our yard and find the wildflowers growing near the woods.  I remember being able to smell the different flowers from several feet away when both of my siblings had to hold the flowers up to their noses to catch the aroma.  As I got older, the quality of my olfactory sense only improved. My love for coffee was affected by this no doubt, as I used to enjoy buying different coffee beans to experience the complexities of each variety’s aroma profile.  It might seem like nothing but an advantage, but there are major negatives to having a strong sense of smell. I can detect mold and mildew in buildings at an extremely low threshold that other people cannot smell or see. Unless I am aggressive in keeping a clean indoor environment, odors will accumulate and build before I realize it. 

When I turned my central furnace on the other day, I noticed a grow odor as the machine started its initial cycle. By how foul the odor was, I grew worried that it meant disaster for my expensive heating system. I spoke with a heating and cooling professional and they told me not to worry. They explained that it is normal for central furnaces to smell weird after they have been left off for long periods of time.  Dust and mold spores accumulate on the heat exchanger and get literally cooked the first time the furnace is turned back on for the season. It’s simply a matter of slowly burning away any existing build up if you want the smell to go away completely.

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