What’s That Burning Smell in My Furnace?

It’s alarming to smell burning coming from your furnace. While not all burning odors are cause for concern, a smoldering scent could be a safety concern and is always a sign that you should check on your furnace. Here are some of the top reasons why your furnace smells like it’s burning:

  • There is Burning Dust

    If you haven’t used your furnace in a while, it’s likely gotten pretty dusty. Turning on your furnace for the first time in a few weeks or months can result in a faint burning smell, which should dissipate after a few moments. If the smell doesn’t go away, you could be facing a different problem and may want to contact an HVAC professional to diagnose the issue.

  • The Air Filter is Clogged

    A clogged air filter makes it difficult for your furnace to function properly. If the filter is backed up, the blower motor will have to work much harder to push air through, which can cause overheating and a burning odor. Dust and dirt from the filter can also accumulate on the furnace before burning off. Regularly changing your air filter is important in keeping your furnace in good shape.

  • The Unit is Overheating

    Typically, furnaces have a safety feature that prevents overheating. However, the safety feature may malfunction and allow the furnace to overheat, which can result in a burning smell that resembles gunpowder. Overheating is a major safety hazard that can lead to an electrical fire, which is why it’s important to shut off your furnace and contact an HVAC expert if your unit is too hot or producing a burning, electrical scent.

  • Something is in Your Furnace

    Sometimes, small items – like bottle caps or children’s toys – make their way into our furnaces, which can produce a plastic-like burning smell. Burning plastic can release harmful fumes into your home, so it’s important to turn off the furnace and contact an HVAC professional if you smell burning plastic coming from your furnace. A professional can help you locate the item and properly clean out your unit.

Regularly maintaining and cleaning your furnace is the number one way to avoid a burning smell. However, if you’re smelling burning and aren’t able to pinpoint or resolve the problem, it’s best to call a professional like those at Vanport Mechanical. A scorching odor could be a sign of a safety issue, which is why our HVAC technicians will help you quickly diagnose and fix the issue. Call us today to talk to an HVAC expert!


What’s that burning smell in my furnace? in Vancouver WA and Portland OR

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