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Why Does My Furnace Smell Like Something is Burning?

service technician inspecting a residential heating system

Every year, we get calls from our customers asking for help troubleshooting their furnaces. Usually, they've just flipped it on and smell something funny. Is that burnt toast? Or a singed dust bunny?

Not quite. Here are a few reasons you might be catching a whiff of char after turning on your furnace, and some troubleshooting tips to help:

1. It really IS a singed dust bunny!

Over time, dust has likely accumulated inside of your system. The first time you flip the furnace switch, the accumulation burns off, producing a slight burning smell throughout your home. If this is your problem, the smell should go away quickly.

2. Your air filter is clogged.

In this instance, the clogged filter forces your blower motor to work extra-hard, forcing it to overheat. When this happens, you can sometimes smell a singed odor every time your furnace kicks on.

3. Your air filter is really clogged.

Quite badly. A clogged filter sometimes allows extra dirt and particulates to build up in the system. Similar to reason number one, those dust and particulates gets burned up as the system heats.

4. You have an electrical issue.

This is the most dangerous of the four possibilities, as it poses a fire hazard to you and your family. If you have any reason to suspect electrical problems, turn off your furnace and call for help immediately.

All four of the reasons listed above are items you can investigate on your own, but why not save yourself the time and hassle of trying to pinpoint the problem? Just contact Jerry’s Air Conditioning & Heating and leave the troubleshooting to us!

Jerry's Air Conditioning & Heating

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Jerry's HVAC
Jerry's HVAC
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931 South Santiago Drive

Florence, SC 29501