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Why Does My Furnace Smell Like It’s Burning?

Odd smells from your HVAC equipment should never be ignored. If your furnace creates a burning smell when it fires up, or you notice a musty smell whenever you arrive home, take a moment to check the filter and then call a heating technician for a full inspection and repairs. You could have an overheating motor, a broken part, or a dangerous gas leak or air quality issue to be fixed.

A Dusty Burning Smell When the Furnace Starts

The smell of burning dust is almost guaranteed when you first use your furnace in the fall or winter. Even with a fresh filter in place, settled dust will be present. The good news here is that running the furnace will burn off the dust and the odor should disappear within a day.

If you’re smelling that burning dusty odor every time the furnace cycles on, you might need a professional cleaning for the whole furnace system.

A Rotten Egg Smell Could Be a Furnace Gas Leak

Natural gas has a foul-smelling additive as a safety measure. If you smell rotten eggs or a chemical odor that strikes your nose oddly, turn off the furnace in case it has a poisonous gas leak. Now call an HVAC technician to inspect the fuel valve and ignition system for a leak and to make sure the flame is burning hot enough.

The Furnace Smells Like Burning Plastic or Metal

Another smell that will hit your nose differently than a dusty or mildew-y smell would be a furnace making any sort of burning plastic, metal, or rubber smell. This means that a foreign object has accidentally fallen into the furnace or that a furnace part is overheating and melting.

You can turn off the furnace and try to find the burnt object. However, even if you can replace the part yourself, a heating technician should inspect the system. An overheated furnace may be improperly functioning, so you need a professional to diagnose the underlying problem.

Fixing a Burning Smell from the Furnace

Your DIY options consist of turning off the furnace, changing the filter, and cleaning and vacuuming the places you can reach. Then it’s a matter of running the furnace again (if you’ve ruled out a gas leak or any other dangerous condition) to see if the smell dissipates.

Furnace Repair in the St. Louis, MO Area

Other than cleaning or replacing the filter, most other furnace maintenance and repair tasks should be left to a licensed HVAC technician. That’s for your safety as well as the performance and well-being of the furnace. The sooner you get your furnace fixed, the healthier the equipment will be and the better your indoor air quality.

If you’re in Fenton or elsewhere in St. Louis County, you can get friendly and trustworthy service from Metro Heating & Cooling. Call us at 314-845-5900 or contact us online to schedule furnace repair today.

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