Forced Air furnace: air has unpleasant smell
This is my first post. I am a tenant in a new apartment. My landlord has not been too helpful with this problem so I am trying to find out info on my own.
The apt is actually the ground floor of an older house with a forced air heating system. The furnace in the basement looks fairly new, however, as do some of the air ducts. The floor vents are older though and may go back to the 1940s when the house was built. The furnace is a Nortron Electric furnace and seems to be working properly except that the smell that it sends up through the floor vents is quite unpleasant. It has an "old ashtray" smell, as I call it. It may not actually be related at all to cigarettes, but that is roughly how I would characterize it anyway, like putting your face down in a filled ashtray.
This is the first time I have lived in a place with forced air heat, so maybe this is just the way it smells?? Is this what people put up with though?
One thing I have noticed: if I put my face right down on the vents when the furnace comes on, it starts blowing cool air before the hot air comes up. I understand why this is (it takes a moment for the furnace to start warming up the air from the intake vents) but the interesting thing is that the cool air does not have the bad smell. In other words, it doesn't seem to be a problem with the duct system needing to be cleaned or something like that. When air blows through the system without being heated, it doesn't smell. It is the process of heating the air by the furnace that seems to be where the problem arises.
Again, is it just me, or is there something wrong here? Any help would be greatly appreciated!