What's That Burning Heater Smell From My Heater? (2023)


What's That Burning Heater Smell From Your Heater? When you turn on your furnace for the first time every year some folks get that weird burning smell. What is that? Watch this HVAC video discussing Turning On Furnace the First Time Every Year. What's that burning smell coming from the furnace?

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As the winter season approaches, a lot of you will be turning on your furnaces for the first time.

This year.

And that can be a very intimidating situation for some people.

Some of you may have just moved into your first apartment.

Some of you may have just moved into your new home this past summer, and the AC worked fine.

But now you have to see how the furnace is going to work this year.

In, this week’s video, let’s break down the gas furnace.

And some of the sounds and smells.

You get when it comes on for the first time each year., INTRO If.

This is your first time watching our channel, please click subscribe down here on the bottom right.

And if you click that little bell next to it, you’ll be notified of all our videos as they come out.

You should understand the nature of the furnace is to provide warm air for your home.


It does that with a gas flame.

But that gas flame isn’t just flying around uncontrolled like it.

Does, say, in a fireplace.

A very structured.

Flame is sent into the furnace.


The flame were to roll out or overheat, the furnace, a series of safety switches will engage, and tell the control board to turn the furnace, off.


You walk over to the thermostat or turn it on with your smartphone, the sounds and smells that you experience can be confusing.

That’s, not how the air conditioner sounded when it came on.

And that’s definitely not how the air conditioner smelled when it was working either.


The furnace gets turned on, the thermostat on the wall tells the furnace, which is in your attic, your garage, or your closet in the hallway to initiate a sequence of events that will ultimately shoot a gas flame into the firebox, or heat, exchanger.

Without, getting too techy on you.

There are a few parts that come on before that flame starts to heat.

The home.

The thermostat tells the control board inside the furnace to come on.

(And) The control board is the brains of the system that will control the following events.


First motor to come on will be the inducer motor.

Not, a large motor by any means.

But it’s the one that gets rid of the fumes spent by the flame that warms your home.

The control board and a pressure switch, acknowledge that the inducer has come on and is working properly., The ignitor will come on next.


It’s a hot surface, ignitor made of silicon carbide that glows red hot., About, 2500, degrees., The timer on the control board, then allows the gas valve to open up and pour a controlled amount of gas over the red-hot surface.


That creates the flame we were talking about earlier, that shoots into the metal firebox, which is better known as a heat exchanger to us.


A, small, flame sensor then verifies.

The flame is on and sends a signal to the board that everything is burning properly.

And the system is safe to continue heating.

The home.


The flame sensor says, everything is okay, the control board, then tells the blower fan to come on.

And the sequence is complete.

Warm air will then start flowing into the rooms until the it gets to the temperature.

You want it to be.

That whole sequence of events that happens takes about 1 minute from the time.

Thermostat tells the furnace to start, to the time.

The blower turns on and gives you heat, though your registers.

When, the thermostat senses, the room’s warm enough.

It tells the control board to end the call for heating, which then cuts the flame.


The blower stays on just long enough to cool.

The furnace down quite a bit, about a 60 to 90 seconds, which helps extend the life of the system.


How does the heat exchanger work? Well,? It “exchanges heat” by keeping the flame and its fumes inside the metal box while a fan blows air over the outside of the metal.

The heat that comes off that metal and the air from the blower is then carried into your rooms where you feel the warm air.

Folks call in every fall when they turn on their system for the first time and say, the system IS working, but there’s a strange smell coming through their vents.

Almost like a burning smell.


We get out to their home and verify all the motors are working properly.

We let them know something most people don’t know until it’s happened to them.

That smell.

You get the first time you turn on your furnace.

Each season is actually just a fine layer of dust that has settled onto the heat.


The dust from your house has made its way past the air filter, past the blower assembly and on to the metallic heat, exchanger.


The metal heats up, the dust singes or burns off and creates that sort burnt.


It happens.

Maybe the first couple times you turn the system on.

But after that you shouldn’t get that smell anymore.

If, the smell bothers you.

You can just open the doors or windows to your house and let it vent out that way for about.

Fifteen minutes.

But rest assured.

It’s not carbon monoxide, because, that’s an odorless gas that can only be picked up by a carbon monoxide detector., Having said, that, if you do turn your furnace on for the first time or ANY time this year and your home’s carbon monoxide detector does goes off.

Don’t just remove the batteries.

Don’t treat it like it’s some nuisance alarm, either., Go ahead and step outside of the home and call the Fire Department.

Let them come out to make sure everything is okay before going back inside., It might cause a big show for everyone in the neighborhood, but who cares, it’s your family’s life on the line.


You don’t currently have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the house - and in the main hallway leading to any bedrooms.

Now would be a good time to head over to your local hardware store to get those.

Speaking of detectors in your homes - if you haven’t done.

So already this year, it’s time to change out the batteries in those detectors around your home.

Your, local, fire department, usually will come out for free and help you replace those batteries.

If you have trouble reaching those detectors on your own.

If, they won’t.

And you’re in our area, just provide the batteries and we’d be happy to come out and change them for you.


Any handyman in your area would be up to the task.

As, a reminder, the single-most-important-thing you can do to keep your furnace.

Clean is to change those air filters.

If, the system can’t breathe in because of a dirty air filter.

Then it won’t be able to breathe out for you at the supply registers in your rooms, either.


If you can’t do it because you’re elderly or physically unable to reach the filter, give us a call! Another bit of advice we’d like you to consider is to make sure there are no flammables around the furnace.


We said that the furnace is either in the attic, the closet, or the garage.

These are common places to store items that tend to be forgotten over time.

A metal, flue pipe that gets very hot.

When the furnace is turned on can be dangerous.

If left unattended.

Broomsticks, cardboard, newspapers, clothing, and other materials can scorch over time.

If it’s resting on the flue pipe.

Make, sure things like that and flammable liquids like varnish, lacquers, oil and gasoline are set away from the area of the furnace to keep your home.



You might be nervous to turn your furnace on that first time, every year.

Do it., Turn it on when it’s still mild outside., Maybe, don’t wait for the first winter snap to hit before finding out your furnace doesn’t work.


You do wait.

You might find yourself at the end of a long line of other homeowners and property management companies who are requesting service at the same time.

You are.


If you don’t already have someone coming out to your house each year, just to make sure everything is running safely for you and your family, we’d love to be the company that gets to do it for you.

We have a super easy way to have it done automatically.

You don’t even have to remember to call either.

We call for you before each summer or winter to schedule, your appointment.

Much like taking the car in to your mechanic to get a check up on it, letting us come to your home and check out all these things we discussed here today is good for your peace of mind as well as your system’s longevity., Checking, your furnace’s safety, switches, gas, pressures, and proper airflow through the system can add years of life just by maintaining it properly, which is something we specialize in.

To, recap –, The nature of a gas furnace is to use a controlled flame to warm your house., (and), A series of safety switches is responsible for making sure that is done in a VERY, controlled way., Any, unexpected events that happen with the flame or other components inside the furnace will tell the control board to shut the unit down.


This is your first time watching our channel, please click subscribe down here on the bottom right.

And if you click that little bell next to it, you’ll be notified of all our videos as they come out., Thanks so much for watching.

And we’ll see you on the next video!.


What's That Burning Heater Smell From My Heater? ›

The most common cause of a burning smell in a heater is dust. If you turn off your furnace or heating unit during the warmer months, it will collect dust. When this dust builds up on components like the heat exchanger or burners, your heater will emit a burning smell when you turn it on again.

Is it normal for heater to smell like burning? ›

Is a Furnace Burning Smell Normal? Generally, it's completely normal that a heater has a burning smell when first turned on, and you don't need to worry! In most cases, this odor dissipates in an hour or so. As long as the smell of burning doesn't continue for more than a day, this odor is just a normal occurrence.

Why is there a weird smell coming from my heater? ›

A burning dust smell may emanate from the furnace once you start the furnace at the beginning of the winter season. This smell is completely normal and should go away within several days. However, if the musty smell persists, try solving this problem by changing out the air filter.

Why does my heater smell like burning plastic? ›

Plastic – If your heater smells like burning plastic, the odor will quickly become intolerable. This smell likely means that a foreign object, such as a toy or a humidifier nozzle, has become lodged in the furnace and has been slowly baking away.

What does a bad heater smell like? ›

Rotten Eggs

A rotten egg smell comes from gas furnaces since heat pumps use electricity. If you smell this odor, you need to leave your home immediately as you have a life-threatening situation on your hands.

How long does burning smell from heater last? ›

The burning smell from the heater should dissipate within a short while. If your heater smells like it's burning after not being used for a long time, wait about five minutes to see if the smell disappears.

What does an electrical burning smell like? ›

That being said, an electrical fire can smell like the following: Burning Plastic: The acrid odor of an electrical fire is often described as that of burning plastic. This is because wiring insulation, connectors, and many other electrical components are made of plastic materials.

What does carbon monoxide smell like? ›

Carbon monoxide is a gas that has no odor, color or taste. You wouldn't be able to see or smell it, but it can be very dangerous to your health and even fatal.

Why do my vents smell like burning? ›

Dirty Filter

If your air filter is clogged, these contaminants can get sucked into the blower and cause it to overheat. This can also lead to dirt and dust reaching the heat exchanger and heating up. Both of these will cause a burning smell and can be mostly avoided by changing your filter regularly.

Is electrical burning smell toxic? ›

Electrical Fires Not Only Smell Bad, But They're Also Toxic

This results is toxic fumes that include ketones and aldehyde gases that are harmful to inhale. Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) by-products are also emitted from electrical burning equipment that can cause cancer and other serious health issues.

Why do I smell electrical burning but nothing there? ›

Phantosmia is when a person smells something that is not actually there. The smells vary between individuals but are usually unpleasant, such as burnt toast, metallic, or chemical smells. Possible causes range from nasal polyps to a stroke. Phantosmia is also called a phantom smell or an olfactory hallucination.

Why does my house smell like burnt metal? ›

Electrical Burning Smells

Electrical and metallic odors generally stem from excessive heat within your furnace. A smell like singed wires likely indicates an overheating metal component, while a more metallic smell may come from a damaged rubber component.

Can turning the heat on cause a fire? ›

But while you keep warm, you'll want to keep safe, as well. The National Fire Protection Association says more than one in six home fires start from heating equipment, which is the second most common cause of a fire behind cooking.

Are there warning signs before an electrical fire? ›

Signs of an impending electrical fire hazard

Random flickering or dimming of the lights. Persistent burning smell. Frequent tripping of the circuit breaker. Discolored outlets and switches.

What do I do if I smell electrical burning? ›

If you happen to smell burning near an outlet, then the first thing you should do is trip its circuit breaker so that you can safely unplug whatever it is that's plugged into the outlet. If the smell disappears, then contact a local electrician to come inspect the outlet for faulty wiring.

How do I find the source of electrical burning smell? ›

10 Causes of an Electrical Burning Smell
  1. Overloaded circuit.
  2. Loose or frayed wires.
  3. Faulty electrical system.
  4. Faulty wiring.
  5. Defective appliance.
  6. Rainwater inside switches and sockets.
  7. Electrical line fault.
  8. Faulty sockets or switches.
Aug 16, 2022

What are two warning signs of carbon monoxide? ›

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you.

What does toxic gas smell like? ›

Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable gas that smells like rotten eggs at low concentration levels in the air. It is commonly known as sewer gas, stink damp, and manure gas. At high concentration levels, it has a sickening sweet odor.

What are the symptoms of gas heater poisoning? ›

Key points about carbon monoxide poisoning

The most common source is unvented space heaters. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, seizures, chest pain, disorientation, and loss of consciousness.

What does a blown fuse smell like? ›

The smell is a cross between plastic melting and a general burning smell. It is possible that this is your fuse smelling. A hot, melting, or burning fuse should 'blow'.

What happens if you smell something burning in your house? ›

Firstly, let's begin by saying that if you notice a strong electrical burning smell in your home or any sign of smoke, you should call the fire department immediately, as you may have an electrical problem with your wiring system and electrics.

Is it bad to smell burning when nothing is burning? ›

Smelling burned toast does not indicate anything medical. But if you're smelling something that isn't there, there may be an underlying cause. Phantosmia is a condition that causes you to smell things that aren't there. It's also called olfactory hallucination.

How long does it take for an electrical fire to start? ›

How Long Does It Take for an Electrical Fire To Start? An electrical fire can start slowly or happen instantly, with the source sparking in 2 minutes or lurking for 2 years.

What does a metallic smell mean in a room? ›

Metal. If you're noticing a metallic odor in the air – and this is one that you don't get often, so you will notice it – it could mean there are components that are overheating inside the HVAC.

Should I be worried if my heater smells burnt? ›

If you experience a burning smell after not using your heater for a while, let the heater operate for ten minutes or so. If the burning smell disappears or decreases significantly, there's no need for concern. If the odor persists, you should contact an HVAC technician.

Can dust in heater cause fire? ›

Can dust in heater cause fire? Yes, dust in heater can cause fire. The best way to prevent fire is to clean the heater regularly. If you notice any smoke coming from the heater, turn off the power immediately.

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