Quality Service &
Installation That You Can Trust

Why Does My Furnace Smell Like It’s Burning?

Odds are you haven’t used your furnace in a while when you first turn on your heat as the temperatures begin dropping in the fall. If you smell an odd scent as your furnace begins operating for the first time in months, you might panic a little bit. This is especially true if the scent is that of something burning. A burning scent coming from your furnace is probably not good, right? Fortunately, most of the time it’s probably nothing to be concerned about.

Reasons Your Furnace Smells Like Burning

There are a number of reasons why your furnace may be producing burning smells. In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about. However, in rare cases, it could be a cause for concern. The following are a few tips on how to determine if the burning smell is a problem or not:

  • Smokey scent – If the burning scent smells like smoke, then it could be an issue with your chimney. You should turn your furnace off and have your chimney inspected (it should be inspected at the beginning of the cold season either way). There may be something blocking the chimney, which is what’s causing the scent of smoke when your furnace is running.
  • Burning dust scent – It’s kind of difficult to describe what burning dust smells like. The best way might be to say that it doesn’t smell like burning rubber or burning plastic. That burning dust scent is actually quite normal. Dust tends to build up on the heat exchanger and in the air ducts if your furnace hasn’t been used for a while. When you start your furnace up again, the scent you are smelling is that dust burning up. The scent should simply disappear after a few hours. If it persists, you may need to change your air filters.
  • Electric burning scent – If you smell burning plastic or rubber, it could be one of two things. Either something has dropped into your HVAC system’s ductwork and is overheated or it’s something more serious. Check all of the registers for foreign objects that may have been dropped down there. If you don’t find anything, then the smell could be the result of a cracked heat exchanger or an overheated furnace motor. You’ll want a professional HVAC technician to come inspect your furnace as soon as possible in this case.

As you can see, that burning smell could be caused by a number of things, some of which are only minor issues and some of which are potentially major problems that need to be addressed as soon as possible. If you’re unsure of what type of burning scent you’re smelling, then it’s better to be safe than sorry and to contact a professional HVAC service.

Even if your furnace isn’t producing a burning smell, it’s a good idea to have it inspected before the winter season to ensure it’s in good condition. To schedule a furnace inspection in Hanover, York, or the surrounding PA cities, be sure to contact us at Strive Heating & Cooling today.

Free HVAC Installation Estimates!

Over 100 Reviews!
What Our Customers Are Saying
  • Keith was super friendly and good about explaining everything he was doing. He was really quick and the service was a really great price! Answered all my questions and gave me options. Will definitely be calling them again!

    - Sarah J
  • Strive is wonderful. This company is professional, explains things thoroughly and responds quickly. I appreciate a company that doesn't jump right to the most expensive fix. I feel confident when I recommend them to my friends and family.

    - Laura B
  • Timely to the second... AC working in minutes!

    - Rebecca M
  • They replaced my entire system and couldn't be happier. Great work for a great price. Thanks again!

    - Kevin B
  • Find Us on:
Our Accreditations