Furnace odors are common, but they shouldn’t be ignored. A burning smell coming from your furnace should be checked out immediately. Most likely, the culprit is dust burning off in the system, but a burning smell can indicate other problems with your furnace.
Follow these troubleshooting tips to determine the cause of the smell and fix the problem. If the odor persists, contact a qualified HVAC professional to check it out.
- First startup of the season – Your furnace will likely emit a slight burning smell for an hour or so when you turn it on for the first time in the fall. The smell is most likely dust buildup. To prevent this odor, replace your air filter and remove dust and debris from the visible components of your system before turning on your furnace.
- Dirty furnace filter – A burning smell may be caused by a dirty air filter. The filter in your furnace traps dust and other particles in the air to prevent them from building up inside your system. If your filter is dirty, replace it and turn the furnace back on. Furnace odors should disappear within a few minutes.
- High resistance – If you keep some of the vents in your home closed to save energy, you may be causing high resistance in your furnace. Closing more than 20 percent of your vents can cause heat to build up inside your furnace, resulting in a burning odor. Open some of your vents to balance the airflow to your furnace and the smell should go away shortly.
- Overheated motor – If your furnace hasn’t been properly maintained with annual tuneups, your motor may be in need of lubrication. A dry motor will produce friction, which can cause a burning smell. Contact an HVAC professional as soon as possible for maintenance.
If the smells don’t disappear after troubleshooting, schedule service for your system. It’s never safe to ignore lingering furnace odors, which may be signaling the need for repair.
For more expert advice about furnace odors or to schedule a maintenance call, contact the pros at Blanton’s Heating & A/C. We’ve proudly served the Fayetteville area since 1951.