What Is That Burning Smell From the Furnace?: A Complete Guide

It’s wintertime, and temperatures are dropping. You want to get cozy and comfortable, so you turn on the furnace. But there’s a strange smell coming from it; in fact, it smells like burning!

There’s no need to panic though. If there’s a burning smell from the furnace, here are some possible causes and what to do.

The Air Filter’s Clogged

If you haven’t changed your air filter in a while, this may be the culprit of the burning smell coming from your furnace. If your air filter’s old and clogged, your furnace’s motor has to work harder to power itself. The burning smell comes from it overheating.

The first thing you should out to see if it fixes the burning smell is to change the air filter. If it goes away, then great! But if it doesn’t, you’ll have to read on.

It’s the Dust That’s Collected

If you haven’t used your furnace in a while and it’s located somewhere where it can gather a lot of dust, then that’s probably what you’re smelling when you turn the furnace on. Once the furnace is on, it burns all the dust on it.

Let your furnace run for a few minutes or so. If the smell goes away, then that means the source was the dust. If not, then maybe it’s something else in this list.

An Electrical Burn

All furnaces should have a safety feature where they’ll shut off by themselves if they detect overheating. But sometimes, these features may be broken, which means your furnace can work itself into overheating and burning out.

When this happens, you’ll smell the result. You’ll want to get an HVAC repair service out to see what’s wrong so you can get it fixed before an electrical fire happens. The longer you wait, the higher your chances of it happening.

You Smell Oil

If you smell oil and have an oil furnace, try changing the oil filter since it may be overheating. You shouldn’t be able to smell the oil, so if there’s still a smell after you’ve changed the filter, turn off your furnace immediately.

Call an HVAC company and don’t turn the furnace back on. The specialist will be able to diagnose the problem and fix it so there are no risks of anything catching fire.

You Smell Burning Plastic

Something’s probably caught in the furnace and melting into it. It’s unsafe to inhale burning plastic, so turn off your furnace immediately and call a professional. Do not turn it back on until repairs have been made.

Burning Smell from the Furnace? Call a Pro

If you have a burning smell from the furnace, then it’s best to have a professional come look at it. Since it can be anything from an old air filter to a potential electrical fire, it’s best to get peace of mind by getting an opinion from an expert.

If you need an HVAC specialist to come and fix your furnace, then get in touch with us now.

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