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Why Is There A Burning Smell Coming From My Furnace?

As we're getting into the colder months, many people will be turning on their furnaces for the first time. When they do, they may notice a series of burning smells that start emanating from the vents. While some of these may not be anything to worry about, some are definitely a cause for alarm and require a call to your local HVAC company to schedule a repair service.

Below are a few of the reasons why your furnace may be emitting a strange burning smell. Check through them, and schedule an HVAC repair before it turns into a bigger problem.

Dust in Your Air Vents

Since most people don't turn their furnaces over the summer, dust and debris settle on the fan blades and the burners. When the furnace fires up for the first time, the heater will burn off all that dust and debris and create a burning smell that should last in your home for about two or three hours. Though it's nothing to worry about, if you have people in your home that suffer from allergies and breathing issues, it's a good idea to have them out of the home the first time you turn your furnace on to prevent any health issues.

Blocked Air Filter

Most experts recommend changing your oil filter every 3 to 6 months, depending on your usage. Failure to do so can result in a furnace that is overworked and an HVAC unit that is not able to filter out the dust efficiently, resulting in greater buildup on the unit and a more potent burning smell, at least initially. If the burning smell coming from your furnace isn't going away, or is even getting worse, it's possible that your motor is having to work harder to produce hot air for your home, and will burn up as a result. Schedule an HVAC repair service as soon as possible to get it looked at, or else you'll end up needing to replace the entire unit.

Electrical Short

Nearly all modern furnaces have a safety mechanism built in that allows the unit to shut off automatically if there's an electrical problem. If this is malfunctioning in any way, that burning smell you experience may be the result of an electrical fire. This requires immediate attention; call an HVAC company to schedule repair pronto, not only to get your furnace working again, but to also check for any other hazards.