Why Does Your Furnace Smell Likes It’s Burning?

By Four Seasons Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electric - October 15, 2014

Summer has ended, and it has happened. Temperatures have dropped just enough to create a nip in the air, and you’re forced to turn on the heat. Your home begins to warm, but wait, what is that burning smell? First and foremost, it is important to remain calm; turn the furnace off, and go to the area of your house where the unit is located. Confirm that there isn’t a fire or the need to call 9-1-1. Once you decide that you and your family are not in immediate danger, you then can take a sigh of relief and start to wonder what could have caused that alarming smell. Here are a few conditions that can generate this odor.

What’s Giving off That Burning Odor?

Combustion Chamber Dust

It is not uncommon to experience a burning smell when you turn on the furnace after it has sat idle for an extended period of time. When a heating unit isn’t in use, dust and dirt settle in the combustion chamber. Once the chamber ignites, debris will sear off, and produce a burning odor or scent of smoke. From there, a blower pushes warm air through the ducts, which eventually gets delivered into your home. If this is the source of a burning odor, the alarming stench will dissipate quickly. If needed, open a window or two to expedite this process.

Dirty Filter

Do you remember the last time you changed the furnace filter? If not, this should be the first place to check. Filters in a forced-air furnace serve a vital role in delivering warm air to the rooms in your home. Their job is to remove particulates (such as dust, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, and more) from the air before the unit gets warmed up. When a filter is dirty or soiled, the airflow becomes compromised, and it is not be able to blow freely through the fibers. When this happens, there’s potential for the unit to overheat and start a fire. But, if dirt is the only culprit, a clean filter should eliminate an occurrence of such smells. In fact, it is important to change filters every 30 days or follow directions on the specific filter’s packaging. This will help decrease odors and provide longevity to your furnace.

Blower Malfunction

The function of a furnace blower is to draw heat from the furnace and distribute it throughout your house. It also maintains the internal temperature of the unit from getting too hot, and just like other mechanical devices, it has the potential to breakdown from time to time. If the blower stops working, it could cause the furnace to overheat and give off a burning odor. Contact a professional at Four Seasons to provide a full evaluation of your unit.

Make an Appointment for a Clean and Check on Your Furnace

Did you know that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has ranked heating equipment as the 2nd highest cause of house fires. Four Seasons Heating, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing is here to help keep you and your family safe. Please do not attempt to make repairs on your furnace. Alway contact a professional to investigate if a repair required or a routine Clean and Check is needed.

As you know, the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana area is notorious for frigid temperatures and extreme winter conditions. So don’t wait until the cold weather hits, schedule an appointment with Four Season today. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plus, we do not charge additional fees on weekends or holidays!

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