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Why Does my Heater Smell Like it’s Burning?


Living in the greater Jacksonville, Florida area means that you typically enjoy nice warm weather throughout most of the year. But as we head into winter, it finally gets cold enough where you want to run your home's heater to keep the family nice and cozy.

However, sometimes when you turn on the heater, you detect a burning odor. Smelling something coming out of your heater may indicate a minor problem that you can take care of yourself or it may be something so severe that you'll need to contact heating, ventilation and air conditioning experts for assistance.

If it's been a while since you've had professionals come to your home to inspect the HVAC system, you will not want to delay in making an appointment for a service call. Inspections, cleaning and maintenance should be done every year in order to get the best return on your heating and cooling investment.

With that in mind, here are the most common reasons why your furnace might smell like it's burning when you turn it on via the thermostat.

Vents May Be Closed

Did you close too many vents in your home, such as a vent in a room that is seldom used? While you might think that you are saving energy by not pumping hot air into an empty guest bedroom, what often happens is that hot air gets trapped and starts to give off a burning smell.

Go through your home and open all vents and then see if that takes care of the problem before you call a technician.

Filter Is Clogged

The air filter may have too much dust, dander and other contaminants, having built up during prolonged use during the summer. A clogged filter makes your HVAC system work too hard and an overworked motor will give off a burning odor. Check your filter and either clean it if it's reusable or purchase and install a new disposable filter.

Accumulated Dust is Burning

All the dust that passed over the heating elements in your HVAC system during summer will burn off when you first turn on the heater in winter. This burning odor should go away after you run the system for about a half hour and you will likely have no more issues with unpleasant smells.

Furnace Is Malfunctioning

Unfortunately, a burning smell may be a sign that the furnace is breaking down. If you've ruled out issues with vents, filters and dust, have a qualified technician inspect it and determine whether repairs or replacement are called for.

David Gray Heating & Air is proud to serve businesses and homeowners in the greater Jacksonville, Florida area and beyond with all their HVAC needs. When the temperature first plummets during winter, you may be turning on your heater for the first time in many months, only to be dismayed by a strange, burning smell. If the problem doesn't seem to be connected with a clogged filter or the burn-off of dust that accumulated over the summer, you will want to arrange for a service call as soon as possible. For more information on taking care of heaters or to make an appointment to have one of our experts come to your home, please call the friendly professionals at David Gray Heating & Air today.