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My Furnace Just Came on and I Can Smell Burning!

This is a common concern that any HVAC company hears from customers during the start of cooler weather. When furnaces first turn on for the season, people often notice a peculiar acrid odor coming from the vents. Nobody wants to smell anything burning in their house, since it immediately creates worry of an electrical or gas fire somewhere. However, in most cases this burning odor from a furnace as it first comes on isn’t a reason to worry.

Dust in a furnace

Here is what is probably causing the burning smell when your furnace comes on for the season: dust burning off the heat exchanger or the heating elements. During the summer, dust often settles over interior parts of the furnace. When the heat exchanger in a gas furnace heats up for the first time, or electric current starts to move through the heating elements in an electric furnace, this dust will burn off. The acrid smell is normal and should go away in about an hour.

If the burning smell doesn’t fade…

A burning smell that doesn’t fade away after an hour, or which starts up at some later point after the furnace has already been running can indicate that something is wrong. Check first on the furnace’s air filter, which is usually located next to the air handler of the HVAC cabinet. If the filter is clogged with dust and debris, it could be allowing dust to flow around its edges and into the burners or the heating elements. Change the filter and see if this makes a difference.

If the burning smell is still present, the next step is to shut down the furnace and call for repair professionals. It is likely that the furnace has trouble with its wiring or its blower motor is burning out. It requires experienced and skilled technicians to correct the issue.

Lee AC & Heating Services is committed to the highest quality customer service and professionalism. Call us for gas and electric furnace repairs in Sunrise Manor, NV.

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