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It’s right about this time of year when homeowners throughout the Memphis area are turning on their heating systems for the first time since last winter. When the heat comes on right away, that’s a very comforting feeling. But for many local residents, that first blast of heat is accompanied by one or more foul odors that stubbornly refuse to just disappear.

Here are the most common heating system odors and their probable causes:

Dirty Sock Syndrome. No, we’re not making this up. Dirty Sock Syndrome is an industry-wide term that accurately depicts the odor produced by a dirty coil inside a heat pump or central AC system. If your coil is that dirty, chances are it’s been a long while since your system was last cleaned and checked.

Musty Odor. If your whole house suddenly smells like dirt or a damp basement when you first turn on your heating system, chances are that dust and dirt have accumulated on the system heat exchanger during the off-season. If that’s the case, the odor should disappear within a few hours. If not, then you need to check your filter, another repository for dust, dirt, and a host of airborne pollutants.

Electrical Burning Smell. Another common and no doubt familiar heating system odor is that of burning plastic or electrical parts. There are a host of factors that can produce an unpleasant electrical burning odor, some not so serious and others quite serious. If, for example, you have baseboard heating, it’s quite possible that a hairbrush, a child’s toy, or one of the countless other objects fell into one of the baseboard units during the warm weather months, just waiting to be “discovered” once the need for heat arises. In that instance, the smell will be localized making it quite easy to uncover the source and cause. But the electrical burning smell also can be produced by the furnace motor overheating, a cracked heat exchanger, or a faulty electrical connection. Any way you slice it, that’s a serious problem that needs professional attention on the double.

If you haven’t already turned on your heating system, then we’d like to suggest a complete pre-season cleaning and inspection by an experienced and highly qualified heating technician from Conway Services. That way, we’ll discover the odor and root out its cause before the heating season gets underway. Otherwise, contact Conway Services now so we can troubleshoot the cause of your particular heating system odor and set things right again. In fact, no matter what your home heating need might be, you can count on us for prompt attention and thoroughly reliable results. In fact, we guarantee it.