What Is That Burning Smell Coming From My Furnace?

44125850_sAs Fall approaches and furnaces are being turned on for the first time this season, many homeowners will have concern over their furnace giving off a burning smell. This can be alarming, but usually not a cause for real concern. As it turns out, a burning smell from a furnace is very common, but it’s also something that shouldn’t be ignored. In order to help you understand when you should and shouldn’t worry about this problem, today we’re going to answer the question, “Why does my furnace smell like something’s burning?”

During the time that your furnace has been dormant, it has likely accumulated dust and even dried skin cells on its internal components, including inside the heat exchanger and around the burners.

When you finally turn on your furnace for the first time, the dust that has accumulated on the system will burn off. This can produce a burning smell that emanates throughout your home. Luckily, this is typically not a safety hazard and the smell should go away after a couple of hours. If you want to minimize the smell that this can produce, consider turning on your furnace during a mild day when you can open up your windows and let the burning smell escape.

If the furnace smell goes away after the first use, there is nothing to worry about. However, if the smell is something that appears every time you run the furnace, there could be a more serious problem and it needs to be evaluated by a professional.

Other seasonal tips to take the fright out of turning on the furnace include:

  • Keep the area around your furnace clean and unobstructed.
  • Don’t store combustible material such as paint thinners, gasoline, etc. near your furnace.
  • Have your heating system tuned up and checked for safety annually by a professional company.
  • Have a clean filter installed. We incurred a warmer than average summer, so your blower motor ran longer and filters are dirty.