Woman reacting to nasty heater smell

2 Solutions for a Stinky Heater

It finally happened. After a long, hot summer, the temperatures finally dropped, and it was time to kick on the heater. Even if your heater is operating perfectly, you may still notice a problem: the smell. In this post, we’ll explore what could cause the bad smell, and how to prevent it.


The bad smell from the furnace is one of the first things you’ll notice when cold weather shows up. It will typically smell like something is burning. In all likelihood, what you’re smelling is burning dust. Throughout the warmer months, dust accumulates in your heating unit. When you start blasting it with heat, the dust burns off and it starts to stink.


The simplest solution, as with any musty smell, is to open a door or window to allow air to flow out of your house and be replaced with fresh air. But if it’s really cold, this may not be practical. If the smell persists, there are a couple of things you can do.

Change the filters: It’s important to remember that not all filters are disposable. Some should be cleaned and put back in place, while others should be replaced.

Clean your system: Depending on how much dust (or anything else that might be hiding in your air ducts) has accumulated, it may require cleaning of your entire system. This will likely require the help of an expert.


In most cases, you will only be dealing with a bad smell. However, it’s possible that debris inside your vents could result in a fire. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, so if you see flames or even just smoke, don’t wait! Turn your system off immediately, and extinguish the fire. If there is any doubt that the fire is out, call 9-1-1 and leave the home immediately.


In most cases, a bad smell means you need some routine maintenance, not the fire department. City Plumbing has the experience and know-how to make these easy fixes. Right now, you can get our Fall Clean & Check for only $89. It includes a complete check of your HVAC system, plus a free 1” filter. Call us at 432-366-2401 to make an appointment. Give us a call, and we’ll come running!

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