At Airtime Heating & Cooling, air quality and odors are just some of the many HVAC-related elements we can assist you with at a moment’s notice. Not only are we here for areas like furnace and air conditioner installation and repairs to help keep you and your family comfortable throughout the year, we’re also here to ensure none of these solutions creates air quality issues or leaves you inhaling undesirable odors.
One odor that some homeowners or their families may notice during the winter and cold months is a burning smell that’s coming from the furnace or heating system. If you’ve never experienced this before, you might be concerned that it’s a major issue and signals something actually ablaze in your HVAC system – we’re here to tell you that in all but extremely rare situations, this is not the case. Let’s go over what the general cause of this kind of odor is, when it might be present, and what you can do in cases where it’s unusual or signals a risk.
What the Smell Means
In the vast majority of cases, a burning smell from the furnace is completely normal, and relates to the furnace “warming up” again after some period of inactivity. This inactivity might be as little as a few hours, or could be as long as weeks or months in other cases. It’s one of the single most common issues homeowners have relating to their furnaces.
To get a bit more specific, the smell is generally caused by the accumulation of dirt and dust in and around the heat exchangers in your furnace, or the air ducts and registers air passes through. When the furnace is turned on, this dust burns off and releases the odor in question.
Times When It’s Appropriate
The most common time for experiencing this burning smell is at the beginning of the heating season in fall – when the furnace has been off for much of the last several months and has had time to accumulate dust and debris. However, this can also take place due to shorter periods of inactivity, especially if your furnace filters are not changed often enough and there’s lots of dust in your home.
How Long it Lasts
The burning smell should not last long, especially if the furnace has only been off for a few hours – the smell should only last about this long as well, in this case. In situations where the furnace hasn’t been used in weeks or months, you can expect the odor to last for a day or two.
Irregular Burning Smells and What to Do
If you notice a continuous burning smell from the furnace that doesn’t go away even after a reasonable period of time, or if burning smells are taking place even without recent inactivity, you could have another issue. If changing your furnace filter doesn’t solve the problem, call our professionals for an inspection.
For more on what a burning smell from your furnace means, or to learn about any of our heating and air services, speak to the pros at Air Time Heating & Cooling today.
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