What It Means If Your House Smells Like Gunpowder

They say that smell is the most powerful sense of all. And, indeed, it's important to always follow your nose, especially around the house. Whether you're a homeowner or a renter, if you detect an odd odor, pay attention, and seek out the cause of the problem. Of course, if you have kids, pets, or a nutty roommate, you might want to check with them first the cause of the stink.

But, in all seriousness, the sudden or recurring presence of odd scents like rotten eggs, sewage, skunks, and more could indicate something wrong in your home that needs immediate attention.

Another example is smelling the sharp tang of gunpowder out of the blue. While your mind might race to scary thoughts of gunfire or explosives, you can probably cross most of those explanations off your list. So what is the actual reason your house might suddenly smell like gunpowder?

Don't be scared — it's probably your HVAC system

The acrid odor is often an indication of a problem with your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, according to multiple HVAC companies. But don't panic: It doesn't mean your house is going to blow up. It's simply a malfunction that can be repaired.

Specifically, a fried furnace circuit board or a broken HVAC blower motor could cause the distinctive odor, according to Aire Serv, a heating and cooling company with franchises in the United States and Canada.

The circuit board of the furnace can break down for several reasons, according to Howell's Heating & Air in Richmond, Virginia, including a dirty fuse, a wrong fuse, loose wiring, and clogged furnace filters. As for the failed HVAC blower motor, the culprits for those problems could include dirt accumulation, high amp draw, failed bearings, electrical failure in the windings, or simply old age, per Air Conditioning | Heating | Refrigeration News.

Regardless of the reason for the gunpowder smell, shut down your HVAC system immediately, and call a professional for an inspection as soon as possible.