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Why Does My Heater Smell Like It's Burning?

December 17, 2021 | Blog

Turning on your heater and smelling something strange can be alarming at first, but don’t worry. It’s often not something major and can usually be resolved very easily.

Here at Natchez Heating & Cooling, we are experts when it comes to heaters. Here are a few reasons why your heater is giving off that burning smell.

Dust in Heater System

Are you cracking up your heater for the first time in a while? Don’t worry, the burning smell is more than likely just dust burning from your heater. Like all things, if your heater goes without use for a while, it will begin to build up dust. Once you do turn on your heater, that dust will burn, creating a strong odor. The dust burning is harmless, and you shouldn’t worry about it. However, if the smell lasts for more than a couple of days, it could be something else causing the odor.

Debris Trapped in Heating System

If your heating system goes without use for an extended period, it’s possible something fell either into your HVAC unit or your ductwork. If you have various vents throughout your home, try pinpointing the smell to a vent. If the odor is coming from just one vent, there might be something trapped in your air duct that’s causing the odor.

While you can open up the vent to see if there’s anything, getting the object out of the air duct can be a whole nother hassle. Usually, it’s best to call an HVAC professional to handle the situation from here. An HVAC technician will have the experience and the tools to get the job done right. 

Dirty Filters or Air Vents

Air filters are great at catching unwanted dust and dirt from entering your home. Over time, however, they will become less efficient at their job and become overloaded with dirt. Once you turn your heater on, the high temperature can be so extreme it can cause the dirt in your filter to give off a burning-like odor.

Thankfully, this can easily be resolved. Simply changing your air filters regularly will not only keep your home’s air dirt-free but will also prevent the burning smell from overtaking your home. If you have a furnace, don’t forget to change its filter as well.

The smell could also be from your home’s air vents. They too will build up dust over time. Once the heater is running high, the dust on your air vent will start to give off that foul smell. Wiping down your air vents with a rag should resolve this issue.

Damaged Heater

If you still smell something burning then it’s probably time to call a professional to examine your unit. More than likely, something in your heater is damaged and is overheating, creating a burning smell. This can be dangerous to both your home and your heater. Turn off your heater completely and contact an HVAC specialist right away so they can further inspect the problem and resolve it.

If you have more questions about your home’s heater or need assistance, then contact Natchez Heating & Cooling today. Whether you need an AC tune-up, a furnace install, or a heater repair, we can help you with all your heating and air needs.

If you are located in Natchez and the surrounding areas, contact us today!

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The tech was so professional and knowledgeable. He was able to answer every question I asked thoroughly and even gave me valuable information about the particular brand of water heater he repaired for me that would help me in the future if I needed it. If you want it done right, call these guys!

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