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Burning Smell From Furnace: What You Need to Know

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound
December 30, 2022
Burning Smell From Furnace: What You Need to Know

Apprehensive about a burning smell from your furnace? Call Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today at (918) 212-0122 to get to the bottom of the issue!

Every year once winter hits, homeowners flip a switch on their thermostat to turn on their heat. This heat keeps homes warm, cozy, and comfortable throughout the cold winter months. 

Without a working furnace, your home may get too frigid. Dangerously cold temperatures can damage your home’s plumbing and piping work, creating an unsafe environment for residents. 

After switching on the furnace, some homeowners notice a burning smell. While some burning smells from the furnace are common and harmless, others are not.

Don’t leave your and your loved ones’ safety to chance. Contact Tulsa’s HVAC installation experts from Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing to investigate the burning smell and assess your HVAC needs.

Is a Burning Smell from Your Furnace Normal?

If you notice a burning smell coming from your furnace, it’s not always something hazardous. But understandably, homeowners worry when they smell any fume in their home, whether harmless or not. 

One reason your furnace is exuding a smell is because it’s running for the first time in months. When your furnace sits without use, it collects dust and grime on the interior heat exchanger, burners, and exterior. When you turn it back on for the winter, these components may burn off, causing an odor.

If you notice a strange smell only during your first couple hours of using your furnace, it’s most likely not a cause for concern. If you’re still wary, call a professional HVAC team to investigate the cause. 

Why Do Furnaces Create Burning Smells?

The range of reasons why furnaces create burning smells is quite broad. Some of the causes include but are not limited to:

  • Clogged air filters
  • Underlying electrical issues
  • Build-up on internal furnace components
  • Wear and tear of wires and electrical parts
  • Gas leaks

Without professional intervention, there’s no way to know what is causing your furnace’s burning smell. Reach out to our skilled HVAC technicians to ensure you find and resolve the correct source of the problem.

Two Common Smells and What They Indicate

Many sources may cause a burning smell from your furnace. Continue reading for more details on specific scents you may encounter and what they could indicate about your HVAC system.

Dust Smell

If you experience a dusty odor after running your furnace, the smell may mean one of two things. The first is that layers of settled dust particles are burning off the components of your furnace. If you have this situation, the smell should go away after running the furnace for an hour or so.

The second may indicate your air filter needs cleaning or changing. When dust, mildew, and other impurities pile on your furnace’s filter, they clog it. When your furnace tries to push air through this filter, it may create a musty smell or cause respiratory symptoms among those in your household.

Plastic Smell

If you notice a plastic or chemical smell coming from your furnace, something may be burning in it or the furnace contains a foreign object. These objects could be anything from a water bottle, a plastic cap, or a toy. 

This scent permeates the home quickly, and it’s toxic to breathe. If you see something in the furnace, hire an HVAC technician to remove the object if it’s hot or lodged in a place where removal may cause damage.

Smells That Indicate an Emergency

Some burning smells are harmless, while others point to the need for emergency repair. Read on to learn about the odors that warrant immediate attention.

Egg Odor

An egg or sulfur odor may indicate a gas leak. Most of the time, natural gas has an added chemical that smells like rotten eggs.

This additive can prove helpful if you have a leak. Homeowners can detect a leak because the natural gas odor is typically undetectable to the human nose.

Immediately turn off the unit if you detect a rotten egg odor near your furnace. It’s also a good idea to open windows throughout the home to let fresh air dissipate the gas. If the gas levels are high, you must call your gas provider and leave your home until professionals say it is safe.

Once you’re cleared to reenter your home, call Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We’ll deliver efficient servicing to get the repairs you require. 

Electrical Odor

Another odor to watch out for is an electric smell. Some describe this scent as metallic and smoky. This odor may indicate burning wires, failing furnace components, and overheating. 

This smell could also mean that safety features aren’t working correctly. To prevent fire hazards, enlist the help of heating and cooling professionals to complete repairs. At Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we’ll ensure your system functions perfectly while adhering to safety protocols. 

Always Follow Up with an HVAC Professional

Regardless of whether the burning smell dissipates, it’s a wise idea to consult with trained HVAC technicians. This way, you can rest easy knowing your furnace and any odor from it isn’t a hazard. 

You should also note that HVAC units are complex systems with many working parts. They’re not meant for repairs from amateurs. Instead, they require restorations, maintenance, and servicing from trained, certified, and licensed professionals.

By opting for annual maintenance, professional installations, and repairs, you’ll keep your furnace working properly and protect your loved ones. 

Choose Our Highly Experienced Team in Tulsa, OK

Maybe your furnace fuse keeps blowing, you’re experiencing furnace odors, or you’re simply looking for a qualified heating and cooling team for general maintenance near Tulsa, OK. Whatever the case, contact Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing for a family-owned business that puts customers first.

Take control of your home today and contact Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing at (918) 212-0122. Our team will figure out the burning smell from your furnace and provide the lasting repairs it needs.

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound

Cassie Pound is the Vice President of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric with locations in Tulsa, Glenpool, and Bartlesville, Oklahoma.