Why Does My Furnace Smells Like Burning?

Posted by: Mas Broto
Last Udated:

When your furnace smells like it’s burning, it could be a sign that something’s wrong with your heating system. Some smells are common, and some may be a symptom of a potentially dangerous problem. So it would be best if you didn’t ignore any odors coming from your furnace.

A burning smell, especially when the first time you turn on the furnace, maybe normal. But, how long it lasts is very important when determining the severity of the situation. It is also very important that you pay attention to any other smells coming from your furnace.

The heating system is the number one cause of house fires, so you should seriously take any burning smell. Some circumstances can cause this smell to occur. HVAC technicians will provide you with all the issues that may cause a burning smell from furnace.

Reasons Why a Furnace Smells Like Burning

Many smells that come from your furnace are completely normal, while others could signal a serious problem.

For instance, when you first turn on your furnace for the winter, it will generally produce a burning smell. This smell usually means that dust has settled in your furnace heating system and is getting stirred up from the furnace being cut on. As the dust burns off, the smell should disappear quickly. It shouldn’t last longer than an hour!

Another reason your furnace may put off a smell is if your HVAC filter is dirty. At the beginning of the heating season, you should install a new filter. A clogged filter will allow dust to move through your furnace, causing a burning smell.

Improper clearance can also cause your furnace to put off a burning smell. If there is a toy or some other flammable material too close to your furnace, it will become very hot, putting up a high risk for a fire.

If you come to realize that none of the above problems are what’s causing your furnace to produce a burning smell, it could be a much bigger problem. If you cannot find the problem, it might be time to consider getting some extra help.

When to Contact an HVAC Professional

As a homeowner, You can do several DIY tasks to reduce any smells from a furnace. But, for most anything else, you should call a professional HVAC technician to be safe.

Here are some you can do:

  • Turn off the furnace
  • Look for active fire or smoke
  • Inspect for burn damage

Even though the dust inside your furnace may burn off, a residue will be left behind. This will reduce the performance and efficiency of your furnace. Therefore, it would be smart of you to schedule an appointment with a professional HVAC technician to have your furnace inspected.

You should have your furnace inspected (and repaired) every fall to ensure that it is ready to go for the winter. In addition, having your system inspected should reduce any potential burning smell from furnace.

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Mas Broto
Have been in the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry for over 20 years. He is person that will grow and thrive to learn more about the HVAC industry throughout his career. Mas Broto is also a blogger, who's dedicated to bringing you the best knowledge to get ahead in the game of life.