Why is there a Burning Smell When the Heat Turns On?

It is not uncommon for a burning smell to arise when a central heater unit turns on. It is not always a cause for concern, although there is ample enough reason to look into what’s going on. Here is a look at what a burning smell indicates when a heater is activated.

The cause of the burning smell

When a heater remains stagnant, it is common for a buildup of dust to accumulate. That dust will burn up and while it will not bring any harm, it does give off an odor. This is normal and not a cause for concern. The odor will generally go away within about an hour. If it does persist, then there may be another issue. But don’t be alarmed at the first sign of that smell.

Avoiding the smell

Some homeowners prefer to avoid that burning smell altogether and that can be accomplished. Annual maintenance on a heating system or furnace will complete the process of cleaning the inside of the heater. This can reduce the dust that typically burns up when a heater is activated. There may be a slight smell, but it will be significantly less. It also helps to have a new air filter installed as this is another way of mitigating a burning smell. A filter that is dirty could allow the smell to linger.

When it’s time to worry

There are instances when a burning smell is not a normal sign. If the burning smell persists, then something is amiss. There are several reasons why this occurs. The insulation on the furnace wiring could be melting and this happens when there is an electrical problem. The best solution is simply turning off the heater and calling a professional HVAC repair service.

Other smells that could be problematic

An electrical issue will emit a smell that is similar to burning plastic. This is definitely a cause for concern. If there is a musty smell that is reminiscent of mold, then it could mean that your unit has accumulated too much bacteria. This could be caused by a dirty air filter or a fungus growth on the evaporator coils. And if there is the smell of sulfur or rotten eggs, it means something is amiss with one of your gas appliances. If this happens, leave the home immediately and contact the gas company.

If you experience any of these issues, contact the team of professionals at Air Necessities for the best HVAC service Columbia, SC has to offer.