Unless you’re burning candles or the fireplace, any time you smell something burning in your home, there’s a problem! If the smell comes from your furnace, you might need to call an HVAC professional to check it out. 

While a burning smell from your furnace isn’t always bad, in some cases, it could be the symptom of a few different problems. Ignoring the smell could lead to a more significant problem or a dangerous situation in your home. 

What causes the burning smells coming from your furnace? Here are six reasons!

1. The First Use Of the Season

When the temperatures start to drop, it’s time to turn the HVAC system from “cool” to “heat.” The first time your furnace switches on to blow hot air, it’s common to notice a burning smell. 

In most cases, this is normal! Dust collects on the heating elements of your furnace when not in use. The burnt smell is the furnace burning off that layer of dust the first time you use it in the fall or winter. 

If the smell persists, contact your furnace specialist to examine the furnace!

2. Clogged Air Filter

When is the last time you changed the filter? A clogged filter means your system has to work harder to push air through the heating element and the vents. 

If it’s working too hard, the blower motor can overheat and smell like it’s burning. When you notice a burning smell from furnace, check the filter and replace it if it’s dirty. If the smell lingers, call a professional to investigate the issue!

3. Electrical Problems

The smell of burning wires or plastic can be different than the smell of your furnace burning off a layer of dust. If you notice a burning smell that you can’t quite identify, it’s time for a professional to take a look at your system.

An electrical issue could be a simple fix. However, it could also lead to a severe problem or fire near your furnace. 

4. Nearby Items

Do you keep your extra filters near the furnace? If you store filters or other items next to the furnace, the burning smell could be something touching the hot surface. Make sure there is plenty of space between the furnace and anything plastic or flammable. 

5. Foreign Objects

Sometimes the burning smell isn’t your furnace at all. If the furnace smells like burning plastic, you could have a foreign object in the vent or the system itself. 

Whether it’s a small toy or a piece of debris, check the vents. If they’re clear, call your HVAC technician to take a look inside the furnace.

6. Burning Mold or Mildew

A buildup of mold or mildew can create a burning smell when the heat of the furnace kicks in. In this case, a professional furnace and duct cleaning can remove mold, mildew, and reduce the smell!

Don’t Ignore a Burning Smell

Never ignore a burning smell in your furnace! Contact All Care Comfort Solutions to inspect your system, make repairs, and keep you safe when the temperatures require the use of your heating system.