Why Does My Furnace Smell Like It's Burning?

Why Does My Furnace Smell Like It's Burning?Whether it’s the beginning of a new season or the dead of winter, the burning smell of a furnace brings a sense of dread. Why does your furnace smell like it’s burning, and what can you do to avoid costly repairs?

7 Reasons Your Furnace Smells Like It’s Burning

Your nose may tell you otherwise, but a burning smell coming from your furnace isn’t always a reason to panic. Numerous factors can contribute to this odor, ranging from harmless to bad news. The following are a few reasons why your furnace may smell like it’s burning.

1. The air filter is old, clogged, or low-quality.

An air filter’s purpose is to block foreign particles, not to restrict airflow. A clogged filter can cause your furnace to overheat or build up excess hot air.

2. You haven’t run your furnace in a long time.

You’re probably familiar with that “first use” odor when you turn your furnace on for the first time each winter. Dust settles inside the vents and burns up when the furnace kicks on, causing a burning smell. If you haven’t run your furnace in a while, this is probably the source of the odor.

3. Your blower is malfunctioning.

A furnace’s blower maintains the internal temperature of the furnace. If it breaks down or malfunctions, it can lose control of the temperature and cause your furnace to overheat.

4. Something electrical is overheating.

Electrical fires are dangerous and can cause a lot of damage. If you do smell a burning odor, it is important that you check all electrical wires and lines to ensure they aren’t malfunctioning.

5. Your oil filter needs to be changed.

In oil furnaces, you need to change your oil filter as often as the package directs. Burning oil can be harmful, so make sure you don’t procrastinate.

6. Foreign objects are burning inside the system.

Occasionally, loose dirt, debris, and other particles can find their way inside your furnace. When this happens, the heat burns them off and causes an odor. Small particles aren’t a huge problem, but you should check your system to ensure there aren’t holes or leaks.

7. There is a fume or gas leak in the system.

Gas leaks are dangerous and can certainly cause a burning odor. Inspect your gas lines to ensure no leaks are polluting your home’s airflow.

How to Get Rid of Your Furnace’s Burning Smell

So, what are the steps to eliminating your furnace’s burning odor?

1. Turn off your furnace.

Even if the problem is harmless, the first step is to turn off your furnace. Don’t turn it back on until you are positive that the issue has been resolved.

2. Inspect the system.

Check every unit, line, etc. Look for visible signs of damage like holes, dents, or rust.

3. Clean accessible equipment.

Dust and wipe down everything you can reach. Pay particularly close attention to areas that heat up significantly.

4. Change your air filter.

Always check your air filter to make sure it’s clean and functioning. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for changing the filter.

5. Call a professional.

If the odor’s source is not immediately evident, call an HVAC technician. It is always better to eliminate dangerous situations before they happen.

Preventive Maintenance Tips to Keep in Mind

The best maintenance is preventive maintenance. Avoid a burning odor by applying the following 2 tips.

1. Always address problems as early as possible.

Again, your health and comfort should be a priority. Address problems as they arise and save money on long-term repairs and replacements.

2. Schedule routine professional HVAC inspections.

You should have your system services by a professional on an annual basis. This ensures that everything runs smoothly and safely.

Contact ABE Heating & Cooling for Your Furnace Tune-Up!

As a licensed Rheem dealer, we can introduce you to some of the most energy-efficient and cost-effective systems currently available on the market. ABE Heating and Cooling offers great products with iron-clad warranties and superior installation services, all at manageable prices suitable for any budget. We are located in Brighton, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver Metro Area, and if you would like to learn more about high-efficiency furnaces please contact us today to discuss the possibilities.