Many smells conjure up images of winter. For others, it’s the aroma of pine trees or a Christmas dinner baking in the oven; for others, it’s the first smell of the season when you turn on the heater. 

It’s very usual for a heater to emit a burning odor when it’s initially turned on, and you shouldn’t be concerned! This stench usually goes away within an hour or two. It is quite natural as long as the burning smell does not last longer than a day.

Let’s see why and what kind of odor is harmful and how to avoid it:

The smell of burning dust:

The most common cause of a burning odor coming from your heater is dust accumulation. An inactive system, whether it’s an electric heater, furnace, or heat pump, can collect dirt particles from your home’s air supply.

These materials burn up when the heating system is turned on, giving off a short-term burning dust odor. The odor may disappear when the heating cycle is completed. Consider contacting an HVAC expert if the problem persists after one or two heating cycles.

Musty smell:

Mold on the furnace filter, humidifier filter, or stuck in your system’s ductwork could cause a musty odor. Once a year, inspect the filter and replace or clean it as needed. You can clean a humidifier filter with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Soak the filter in the vinegar solution for a few minutes before gently wiping it clean with a moist cloth.

If changing and cleaning the filter doesn’t eliminate the musty odor, you need to talk to a professional duct cleaner.

Electric burning smell:

A serious electrical problem may occur if you smell burning electricity. The blower motor can overheat if your unit is damaged or malfunctioning. It’s also possible that the problem is with the electrical wiring only. An electrical burning odor can also indicate a damaged heating element, a serious and potentially dangerous issue.

Burning oil or smokey smell:

If your furnace emits a smokey odor, it could be a sign of a blocked chimney, resulting in a dangerous exhaust fire. However, smelling oil or smoke while using an oil furnace could indicate a significant problem with the furnace. 

If the odor continues after you’ve checked and changed the oil filter, you should have an HVAC specialist look into it.

Have your furnace inspected and picked at least once a year, preferably before the temperatures drop, to avoid expensive heater repairs in the future. A furnace inspection will cost between $50 and $100, but it will help your heater last longer and save more costly repairs in the future.

Fortunately, if your heater emits a burning odor, there’s no need to panic—but if you do need help, contact Total Comfort Inc. for any kind of heating services at Yorba Linda.

We offer a full range of efficient and affordable heating services in Yorba Linda to help you avoid having to deal with that noxious burning odor. To discover more about how we can assist you, give us a call at 844-824-4247 or visit our website.