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Why There’s a Burning Smell When Turning on the Heat

As the temperatures drop and winter nears, you’ll begin to use your home’s heating system to provide your family with warmth. However, when you go to turn on your heating system, you may notice a burning smell coming from your heater. Why is this happening, and is it something to worry about?

In the newest blog post from Star Heating & Cooling, we’ll discuss why you might be noticing a burning odor, when it’s normal and when you should call a professional HVAC technician to have your system inspected. 

When a Burning Smell is Normal

Sometimes, it can be completely normal to smell burning odors after recently turning the heat on. For example, you’ll likely notice a burning smell the first time you turn your heating system on this season.

The longer that your heating system goes between usage, the more dust that will build up in your system. When you finally turn on your furnace for the first time, all of that dust will be burned off of the unit. This creates the burning dust smell that you’re noticing, and it’s completely normal. 

After a few minutes, all of the dust should be burnt off of the system and the burning smell should subside. If you’re still noticing a lingering burning smell, change out your system’s furnace filter. If the scent still does not go away, contact a professional to have the system inspected.

When to Call a Professional

Older heating systems are much more prone to issues than newer and more efficient systems. Older furnace models can easily overheat and melt electrical wires and components within the system. When this happens, you might notice a burning electrical smell. These signal serious issues, and if burning electrical wires and components are left untreated, they can cause your system to break down or even lead to an electrical fire.

As a general rule of thumb, any burning smells that occur after the first heating system usage of the season should be investigated.

What Other Smells Mean

In addition to burning smells, your heating system might emit other odors that signal issues within your system. Musty odors, for example, can signal that mold has built up within your furnace. Contact a professional to investigate your system if the musty smell does not go away.

Smelling rotten eggs, on the other hand, likely signals a dangerous gas leak from a cracked heat exchanger. If you smell this odor coming from your system, evacuate your home immediately and call your home’s gas company. 

If everything is working properly within your furnace, you shouldn’t notice any smells coming from the system, aside from when you turn the system on for the first time of the year. For any other smells coming from your heating system, contact a professional for furnace repair services.

Contact Star Heating & Cooling for Heating Services

For any issues that are plaguing your home’s heating system, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Star Heating & Cooling. Our professionals have seen it all when it comes to heating issues, and we’ll always apply our knowledge, experience, and expertise to every job to ensure that all of your heating needs are met. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for service or to receive more information about how we can help with all of your HVAC problems.