Why You Might Notice Burning Smell from Your Furnace

Around this time of year, you may turn on your furnace for the first time and get greeted with a potent burning smell that emanates throughout your Coachella Valley area house. 

  • Where does this smell come from? 

  • Does it mean there’s something wrong with your furnace? 

  • And why is the smell so common this time of year? 

Today we’re going to tackle these questions by talking about why your furnace or heating system might give off a burning smell and what you should do if you ever notice it!

Why does a burning smell come from my HVAC system at the beginning of the heating season?

During the cooling season, your furnace just sits around and gathers dust… literally.

When your furnace isn’t in use for months at a time, dirt and dust will build up on its various heating components. When the time comes for you to finally turn your furnace on, that dirt will burn up and give off a potent smell.

This is why many furnaces give off a burning smell at the beginning of the heating season.

Although this is a very common occurrence, you should be aware that the burning smell from your furnace should dissipate within a couple hours, and it should not continue after the first couple of times that you run your furnace this year.

Why might a burning smell come from my furnace in the middle of the heating season?

If your furnace is giving off a burning smell later on in the heating season, there might be bigger issues at play.

As is often the case, one common culprit might be a clogged air filter. A clogged filter can force your furnace to give off a burning smell for a couple of different reasons.

  • First, when your air filter is clogged, it allows dirt to bypass your filter and build up on your system. This dirt can burn up in the same way that it does at the beginning of the season.

  • Another issue related to a clogged filter is overheating. If your filter is clogged, it will force your air handler to work over time. This can cause your blower motor to overheat and give off a burning smell that is carried throughout your ductwork and into your living spaces.

  • Another thing that might cause a burning smell from your furnace is electrical issues. If any of your electrical wirings are frayed or damaged, they might give off a burning smell that should be taken care of right away.

As a rule of thumb, if you notice a burning smell coming from your furnace when you don’t expect it, you should contact Hyde’s so we can perform an inspection on your system and take care of problems that might cause safety issues in your home.

Schedule a tune-up to minimize the likelihood of a burning smell from your furnace

One of the best ways to minimize the likelihood of a burning smell coming from your furnace is to schedule an annual furnace tune-up with Hyde’s.

During your tune-up, we’ll clean your burners and other components where dirt can build up, which will allow us to remove the dirt before it can burn up and create a smell. In addition, a tune-up will prevent problems with your furnace later on in the year that might cause it to develop a burning smell.

What does Hyde’s do during a furnace tune-up? 

There are many different tasks that we perform on your furnace during your tune-up. A partial list of them includes:

  • Checking electrical connections and safety controls
  • Checking your furnace’s temperature rise
  • Lubricating moving parts
  • Check blower capacitor and amps
  • Monitor burners/pilot assembly
  • Checking for a cracked heat exchanger or other carbon monoxide issues
  • Ensuring your furnace is venting properly
  • Carbon Monoxide testing

If you have any questions about a burning smell coming from your furnace, or if you’d like a heating system serviced or installed in your home, contact Hyde’s, your Coachella Valley furnace heating system installation and repair contractor.