What's That Burning Smell Coming From My Furnace?

Have you ever fired up your furnace only to have your nostrils stung a few minutes later by the unpleasant odor of something burning? If your home hasn’t caught fire, there’s a good chance this burning smell is actually coming from your furnace. Is it a sign that something’s wrong? Do you need to call for a professional, repair? Our experts take a closer look at what causes this to happen and explains whether or not the problem is serious.

Burning Dust

Is this the first time you’ve fired up your furnace for the season? If so, the burning smell you’re experiencing is actually extremely common. The burning you’re smelling is simply dust, dirt, and other debris that has settled in your heat exchanger, burner, and other components over the months of disuse and neglect. Normally, when you have your furnace maintained, a professional will inspect and clean these components and you probably won’t experience this smell. However, if you haven’t and you’ve needed to turn your furnace on, the smell isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, it’ll dissipate after just a few minutes, though you can help speed things along by simply opening a window or door to let the air cycle through.

Electrical Flaws

This is a slightly more serious issue. If you fire up your furnace and you smell something burning and it’s not the first time of the season, then you may have a problem of an electrical component blowing out or burning. In many cases, this is an overheated blower motor. In normal conditions, the furnace will shut itself off if it detects one of these overheats but this may not happen if there’s something wrong with this safety system. The problem could also be elsewhere in your system, including in the wiring that connects the various components together electrically. A frayed wire or faulty connection could be causing current to pass through something that it shouldn’t be resulting in that component becoming hot and possibly burning.

In either case, the best thing to do is shut your furnace off immediately and call a Kerrville heating repairs professional for an emergency repair.

Furnace Smells Like Burning Plastic

Have you ever smelled burning plastic before? If so, you’re aware of how distinct this odor is. If you smell this coming from your furnace, it means something has found its way into the furnace, where it is now melting. We’ve seen all sorts of strange things find their way into furnaces somehow: water bottle caps, child’s toys, and much more, but the truth is it’s usually a piece of frayed wire shielding. After a while, plastic shielding on wires can wear out, crack, and occasionally fall into the heating area of your furnace, resulting in a nasty, burning plastic smell. Cleaning the plastic out can be a real pain as well.

Gunpowder Smell

If you smell something that smells a lot like gunpowder, this is probably because there’s a circuit board or other electronic component in your furnace that’s burning up. It should go without stating that this is a serious problem. Repairing a broken or burned circuit board may be expensive, and figuring out what exactly is burning and why takes a lot of skill and experience. Reach out to a professional for help as soon as possible.

Call 72 Degrees Air Conditioning & Heating today at (830) 302-3140 and request a furnace repair appointment today.