Why Does My Furnace Have a Burning Smell?

Burning smells are one of the most common concerns about furnaces. Heating your home should not smell like someone forgot something on the stove, nor like someone has been conducting a science experiment gone awry. Fortunately, you can stop worrying about whether a burning smell from a furnace indicates a gas leak. That would carry a rotten egg-like odor.

Note that if you’ve gone more than a year without a furnace tune-up, now would be a good time to schedule an appointment with your local St. Louis HVAC company. Cleaning and maintenance take care of many causes of furnace smells.

Musty, Dusty Burning Smells

Your furnace does some self-cleaning when it first fires up each year. If you just switched to heating, you can ignore the burnt dust smell. Change or clean the filter, of course, but otherwise the odor means nothing unless it lasts for more than a few hours. At that point, you’ll want a technician to walk through maintenance.

Metallic Burning Smells

You know it when you smell it—the metallic odor of burning electrical components. For one reason or another, the furnace overheats and some part gets hotter than it should. You could have a clogged filter or vents, a dirty blower motor, or a thermostat or sensor problem causing the furnace to cycle on too frequently.

Call for furnace repairs before you run the furnace again. If you really need the heat, check the filter and turn the thermostat lower so the furnace runs less until the technician arrives.

Burning Plastic or Rubber

The unpleasant smell of burnt plastic from a furnace may cause alarm, but the solution may be minor. You might just have a child’s toy that needs to be removed from the area. More often, there’s a plastic or rubber furnace part such as a hose, gasket, or grommet, that has come loose and exposed to heat. If you can’t spot the issue yourself, call a pro.

Smoke Smell When Using Furnace

This usually happens in households that also use a fireplace. You could need a chimney cleaning, or the airflow could be set up wrong such that the furnace running causes smoky chimney air to be pulled into the house. Firmly close the chimney if you aren’t actively using the fireplace this year. If you want to use both and the smell persists, call your HVAC company.

Furnace Cleaning and Repair in St. Louis

A thorough furnace maintenance and inspection will resolve most of these issues. Cleaning and tightening things inside the furnace can get things heating cleanly.

To schedule a maintenance visit or request furnace repair in Fenton, MO or the St. Louis metro area, contact us at Metro Heating & Cooling for quality service by licensed technicians.