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Why Does Turning on Your Heat Cause a Burning Smell?


Heat Burning Smell

The smell of burning plastic, electrical aromas, or burning dust may indicate more serious problems with your HVAC system, even if certain furnace smells are very typical. Most homeowners are accustomed to their furnace emitting a burning smell when they first switch it on for the season, but what should you do if your heater emits that scent constantly?

Here at BEAM HVAC we have provided you with a list to help determine what might be generating the heat burning smell when you switch on your furnace.


What Smell Should Be Expected From a Furnace?

Your HVAC system may develop a thin coating of dust inside the heat exchanger, in the ductwork, and on the ignition system throughout the course of the year as a result of usage.


Every season, when your furnace initially comes on, you could notice a distinct burning smell as dust in your system burns off. Although the smell may be unpleasant, it shouldn't severely affect the indoor air quality or linger for more than an hour. If the scent bothers you, you can open a window slightly to let fresh air in your house until it dissipates or put on a ventilation fan in a bathroom.


However, some odors can serve as alerts for more serious problems. There may be a leak in your system if you smell natural gas, which will smell like rotten eggs. While dialing 911 or your utility company, turn off your gas.


Additionally, there may also be moisture problems allowing mold to grow within your ductwork. Mold and mildew can also be an indication of problems with your furnace.


What Else Could Produce a Burning Smell?

Burning odors that persist could be an indication that something else is wrong with your heater. While occasionally smelling burning dust isn't necessarily a problem, a persistent or sporadic burning smell that recurs throughout the winter can be caused by something that is burning inside of your furnace.


Here are a few reasons why your furnace may be emitting burning odors:


Unclean Furnace Filter

The air entering your system enters through the furnace filter. Your filter may clog up as it collects tiny particles like dust, pet dander, and other airborne toxins. Filters that are clogged with dirt can let dust and grime escape, giving off an unpleasant smell. Additionally, a dirty filter can hold some of the odor molecules within your furnace, causing a persistent scent.


Occasionally, air filters should be examined and changed if they become clogged. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to check your air filters every few weeks, and keep spare air filters on hand for quick and easy replacement. Your furnace needs regular preventative maintenance, and changing its air filters when they get dirty will help it last longer.


Blower motor that is too hot or overworked

Your furnace is more likely to overheat if the filter is dirty or if the ventilation channels are blocked. Blocked air return ducts can prevent cold air from cycling into the system, which can result in poor air circulation.


When this occurs, heat can build up inside the furnace, overheating parts like the blower motor and heat exchanger. Since the units include inbuilt limit switches that trip to protect the internal components, furnaces that overheat may shut down. A burning odor may be produced by furnaces that overheat. The heat exchanger may crack eventually as a result of the system's constant buildup of heat, allowing carbon monoxide to flow into your home.


Burning Wires

Burning plastic odors may indicate a problem with your HVAC system's electrical connections. Any time the protective insulation on a wire is harmed because of physical harm, insufficient voltage, or faulty location, it may lead to a malfunction that causes the insulation to burn.


Wiring may even start a house fire when this occurs. Consider the situation seriously and get in touch with a specialist at BEAM HVAC right away for fast diagnosis and repairs if you detect an electrical burning odor. Wiring that has been damaged might be examined, replaced, or only tightened. Always have your furnace and HVAC system tested and tuned-up at the beginning of the season since electrical problems are a wonderful reason to do so.


Contact Us BEAM HVAC for Your HVAC Repairs!


Call BEAM HVAC if your furnace is producing burning odors. Our HVAC professionals can tune up your furnace and assist you in maintaining your system.


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