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Is a Burning Smell Normal When I Turn on the Heat?

A residential homeowner in Belleville, IL holding his nose due to a foul burning smell coming from the furnace.

If you’ve just turned on the heat for the first time this season and noticed a burning smell, you might be concerned that something is wrong with your furnace. Before you call a furnace repair service, such as Morrison Plumbing in Belleville, IL, you should note that there are several types of burning smells that can occur when you turn on the heat, and that not all of them are harmful.

Burning Dust

It is normal for heaters to smell like burning dust when you turn them on for the first time in several months. While the system is not in use, dust builds up on the vents and on other parts, leading to a bad smell when it burns off when you turn on the heat in winter.

This kind of smell should quickly dissipate. It is usually only present the first time you turn on the heat after a long period of not using your furnace. If the smell persists or gets stronger, you should seek advice from a furnace maintenance service.

You can reduce the strength of the early season dust-burning smell by cleaning your HVAC system before you turn on the heat for the first time. Clean vents, furnace, and any other accessible parts of the system, or contact a furnace maintenance service for a clean and tune-up before winter begins.

A furnace air filter covered in dust and causing a harsh burning smell to come from a residential heating system in Belleville, IL.

Other Burning Smells

Other types of burning smells, such as a smell of burning plastic or an electrical burning smell, should be investigated by a furnace repair company. Furnaces that are in regular use should not produce bad smells of any kind. In particular, electrical burning smells need to be investigated right away to prevent any risk of a fire breaking out in your home.

Troubleshooting Burning Smells

One troubleshooting tip that you can follow to investigate burning smells is to check the ducts to see if there are any objects stuck inside them. Small plastic objects, such as toys, can get stuck in vents and go unnoticed until you turn on the heat and they start to melt. If you find the object that is causing the problem, you can turn off the heat, wait for it to cool down, and then remove it.

If you cannot find the source of the burning smell that your heating system is producing, then it is time to contact a furnace repair service. Morrison Plumbing provides timely and reliable furnace repair all year around to ensure that you can heat your Belleville, IL home safely and efficiently.

Get in touch with Morrison Plumbing on (618) 703-5700 to get help with burning smells. We take calls seven days a week, so don’t delay – give us a call today!

A plumbing and HVAC expert using professional tools to repair a furnace that is producing a horrible burning smell in Belleville, IL.


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