The heating season is here and as we all start firing up our furnaces for the first time, many of us will find an unwelcome surprise. The house suddenly fills with the unmistakable stench of something burning, and though many homeowners ignore the smell, there could be bigger problems at hand especially if this becomes a regular occurrence with every heating season. Understanding where this smell could be coming from is the first step towards understanding why it is so important to have the system cleaned and maintained yearly, and these are the top four potential causes of the burning smell coming from your furnace.
Top 4 Causes of a Burning Smell when Using the Furnace
- Electrical Malfunctions: The electrical components within your furnace can short out or overheat causing their plastic casings to melt and circulate the smell of an electrical burn throughout the home. When this is the source of your burning smell, a repair is necessary and the system will usually shut itself down in order to prevent a fire within the home.
- Dirty Ducts: Dirty duct work won’t always cause this problem but if a large amount of debris tumbles into the furnace and his heated when the system is turned on, you can get a burning smell in the home. We have seen everything from a Cheetos bag to an action figure fall into a furnace and cause a very unpleasant smell and sometimes even a system breakdown.
- Overflowing Filter: Filter replacements are the bare minimum that every homeowner must do if they are going to have any hope of making it through the winter with a functional heating system. When the filter is overflowing with debris, air flow is reduced to the furnace and debris can get past the filter because it is so overloaded. This combination leads to the burning smell, and could choke the life out the furnace and your energy bills.
- Neglected Maintenance: This is the most common cause of a burning smell in the furnace, and nearly every homeowner has experienced it. When you fire up the furnace before having the system cleaned and inspected the dust that accumulated in the furnace over the winter months burns off creating this smell. Over time with repeated dust burn offs, soot will begin to accumulate within the system and lead to a decrease in efficiency, comfort, and reliability.
It’s Time for Your Yearly Furnace Cleaning!
The take away lesson here is to HAVE YOUR FURNACE CLEANED! This fall is the perfect opportunity to get that furnace cleaned before you have to start it up for the season. Get rid of that dust and detect any problems early on in the season before your home is filled with very unpleasant odors.