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Why Does My Furnace Smell Like Something Is Burning?

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A burning odor is one of the most concerning furnace issues. Strong smells coming from your heating system are never something to take lightly. However, there are cases when a burning odor from your furnace may not require professional service.

The HVAC experts at United Air Temp want you to know the most common causes for a burning smell from your furnace so you can make the most informed decision for your indoor comfort and safety.

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(202) 796-7990

Dust on Your Furnace

You may notice a slight burning smell when you turn your furnace on for the first time each fall. This is normal, as dust may have accumulated on your unit during the offseason. As your furnace heats up, debris within the unit may burn away, resulting in a burning odor.

This smell should only last a few minutes, slowly dissipating as your system burns away the residue. If, however, you notice that the burning odor persists for much longer, a greater issue may be at play. Request service from a skilled HVAC technician.

Dirty Furnace Filter

Another reason why your furnace may start to emanate a burning odor is if its air filter becomes clogged or dirty. When this happens, the system may heat dust, debris, pet dander, and other airborne pollutants trapped in the filter.

We recommend changing your furnace filter at the start of each heating season to prevent this issue. From there, change your filter regularly, usually once every 90 days.

Overheated Blower Motor

An overheated blower motor is a serious furnace problem. Not only will the unit start to smell, but an overheated blower motor can force the system to shut off completely due to the safety controls, leaving you without heating.

Other signs of an overheated blower motor include:

  • Strange noises
  • Weak airflow
  • A tripped circuit breaker
  • Smoking vents

You need to schedule 24/7 emergency heating repair when you suspect your blower motor is compromised.

Damaged Wiring

If your furnace smells like burning or melting plastic, it could mean that your system has defective or damaged wiring. This is a serious issue as it could lead to significant safety hazards, such as electrical fire.

When you recognize a burning plastic smell coming from your furnace, shut down the system immediately and schedule an emergency heating repair with your trusted HVAC professional.

Get Expert Furnace Repair & Maintenance From UAT

Have you noticed a persistent burning smell coming from your furnace? Neglecting this problem can pose a significant threat to your home’s safety and comfort.

At United Air Temp, our HVAC technicians help ensure your system operates safely. Scheduling annual furnace maintenance can prevent the burning smell in the first place.

We’re committed to quality craftsmanship and are confident in our ability to diagnose and fix the burning smell in your furnace quickly and efficiently.

Book furnace repair or maintenance in Washington, DC, or Northern Virginia by calling United Air Temp at (202) 796-7990 today!

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