What Does It Mean If Your Furnace Smells Like Something Is Burning?

It can be troubling when your furnace produces a burning smell in your home. As a homeowner, you'll likely want to find out sooner rather than later what's causing the issue. This FAQ is designed to help you understand what could be causing your problem and what to do about it.

What does it mean if your furnace smells like something is burning?

Your furnace could be producing a burning smell for a variety of reasons. Some furnaces produce this smell at the end of the fall or beginning of the winter when the heater is turned on for first time of the heating season. The smell occurs because the interior elements of the furnace have gotten dusty. The dust burns up during the first one or two uses, and then the smell goes away. This is normal and usually poses no safety threat.

If your furnace been producing a burning smell all winter long, this could be indicative of another problem. Some possibilities include:

  • Electrical defect. Your furnace could be producing a smell because of a defect in the system. 
  • Clogged air filter. If your HVAC's air filter is clogged, this could be forcing your furnace to run continuously without stopping. The constant running could be causing your furnace to overheat, thus producing a burning smell.

What should you do if your furnace produces a burning smell and the smell doesn't go away?

If you've already run your furnace several times the heating season and your heater is still producing a smell, the next course of action should be to check the HVAC air filter. The air filter is located in a slot between the return air duct and the blower. To check the air filter, remove it from the slot and check it for signs of dirt. If the air filter is noticeably dirty, your problem could be a clog. To replace the filter, take it to a home improvement center or a hardware store and use it to find a matching filter. After purchasing a new filter, throw the old one away and put the new one in the slot between the blower and the return air duct. Run the furnace and see if this helps.

If your furnace still produces a burning smell even after changing the air filter, or if the air filter isn't yet dirty and doesn't need to be replaced, then it's time to call a furnace repair person. If your furnace is experiencing an electrical problem, this could be a safety hazard. To avoid risk of fire, it's a good idea to get your furnace repaired as soon as possible. List http://www.coeheatcool.com for more information of furnace repair. 


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