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Why Does My Boiler Smell?

5 September 2018

My Boiler Smells, What Should I Do?

If your boiler starts to produce any unusual smells, it is likely that there is a fault with your boiler. Smells don’t just indicate if your boiler is unsafe – they also indicate if your wellbeing is at risk from being in the same environment as the boiler.

What Should You Do When You Encounter Certain Smells?

The Smell of Burning or Dust

In summer, you may not need to use your boiler as often, so if they haven’t been used in a while, they can produce a smell of burning fabric or dust on startup. This is often down to the pilot light burning off the grouped dust in the boiler, but if the smell is persistent, this could indicate a serious issue within the boiler. To solve this, you can try cleaning or replace the air filters in the boiler, but if the problem persists, you should contact a gas safe engineer so they can fix it.

The Smell of Burning Metal, Electricals or Overheating

Issues can arise in the boiler when wires become disconnected – it doesn’t help in a boiler that they also have a constant supply of heat, which can make problems worse. If these circuits get too hot, this is when you will be able to smell things similar to melting plastic, burning oil or burning metal.

Rotten Egg Smells

When you are waiting for the pilot light to catch, you may sometimes smell this, which is down to a small amount of gas that does not burn. However, if you are smelling this more regularly, it could indicate that there is a gas leak in your boiler, which can be catastrophic when exposed to a naked flame. If you do smell this more often than when you are waiting for the pilot light to catch, you should turn off all naked flames, open all doors and windows, and leave the house immediately as there is a huge risk to your health.

What About If I Smell Nothing At All?

Unfortunately, this does always mean that you are safe. Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, colourless, and odourless gas that can kill when inhaled. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu, so it is worth getting checked out by a doctor and thinking about where you are experiencing the symptoms.

To decrease the risk of carbon monoxide leaks going unnoticed, it is a good idea to install a carbon monoxide detector near your boiler, which will remove the guessing of whether you have a carbon monoxide leak or not. Just like if you smell a rotten egg smell, you should open all of the doors and windows and leave the house straight away if you think that there is a carbon monoxide leak.


Making sure that your boiler is working well is paramount as we head into the winter months. We would recommend getting your boiler serviced once every 12 months so if you’re looking to book a boiler service then be sure to choose Phoenix Gas for a thorough and high standard check of your appliance. Fill in the form down below to book yours today. We are a trusted traders rated company guaranteed to provide a high quality service for you.



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