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Help! My Furnace Smells Like It’s Burning

an air filter in it's appropriate positionAs colder temperatures creep into the Miami Valley, you might want to make sure that your furnace is working properly. When you first turn it on at the start of the cold season, it may give off a burning or dusty smell. In most situations, the smell dissipates quickly, but if the odor persists this may mean you have furnace troubles. During the cold season, a furnace is the most valuable appliance for a homeowner, so always make sure it is properly maintained.

What Is the Cause of This Burning Smell?

Generally, when turning your system on for the first time during the cold season, a dusty, burning smell is normal. The smell is common because the furnace is burning away dirt and dust that has accumulated inside. In most cases, the smell goes away after a few hours.

However, if the smell continues, try checking the air filter and making sure it is newer and clean. Regular air filter changes will keep your furnace running more smoothly. For best results, it is smart to change or clean your filters at least once a month. In addition to a clogged filter, other common causes of a burning smell include an electrical issue or more serious problems with parts of your system that can cause the unit to overheat. If the smell continues after changing the filter, this could indicate a more serious problem, and you should consult a professional for deep cleaning and inspection of your unit.

What shall I do about the smells and when do I call in a professional?

Other smells to cause concerns are an electrical, metallic or rotten egg smell. If you notice any of these smells, shut your system off immediately and call in a professional.

An electrical or metallic smell usually indicates that certain parts are becoming too hot and can be burning due to old age or general use. These parts will need to be replaced, but they normally are minor repairs that are less costly.

A rotten egg smell usually indicates that you have a gas leak. A gas leak can cause a fire or an explosion because there is gas in the air. If this unpleasant smell occurs, leave your home and call the gas company.

Any of these smells can there is a serious issue that you can’t always diagnose on your own. Call in a professional for proper repairs and to ensure your family’s safety. After repairs are made, monitor your furnace to be sure the smell is gone.

Schedule regular preventative maintenance exams on your system

Preventative maintenance includes airflow by keeping dust, dirt, and debris away from any system. Keep air filters clean and heat exchangers and coils free of restrictions.

It’s always a good idea to hire a professional to inspect and do maintenance on your system every spring for the air conditioner and every fall for the heating unit. The HVAC professional will inspect and clean the wiring and mechanisms of each of the unites and take care of the more challenging maintenance work that the average homeowner shouldn’t attempt on their own.

Regular maintenance will not only keep you safe, but it will also save money on energy bills because your system will be maintained at peak performance. It can prolong the lifespan of your HVAC system, as well.

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