Heater Burning

Your Heater & That Burning Smell

If you haven’t turned on your heater yet this season, chances are you will soon. The first time you fire it up, you may recognize a familiar smell. If it smells like something burning, don’t be alarmed. In this post, we’ll explain what’s going on and how you can make sure that the burning smell won’t cause any issues.


All summer long, while you’re cranking the A/C, your furnace is literally gathering dust. Dust and dirt built up on the heating components, just like they would in any other unused area of your home. That “burning” smell is exactly that – the dirt and dust burning off when you start using the heater again for the winter.

While the smell shouldn’t be a concern initially, it should go away after the first few times you use your heater for the winter. If it continues for longer than that, you may have an issue.


If you’ve been running the heater every day for a week, and the burning smell persists, there are a few common causes you can check out. One possible culprit is a clogged air filter.

  • A clogged filter means that dirt and dust are getting into your system. That means you’ll smell that burn off every time you use the heater.
  • The burning smell can also come from a heater that’s working too hard. A clogged filter means your air handler is working hard to keep air moving through the system.

Another possible cause of the burning smell is electrical problems. Any frayed or damaged wiring can not only cause a bad smell but a fire hazard as well, so be sure to get it checked out right away if it persists.


Want to minimize the smell and the chances of any problems? Schedule a Fall Clean & Check with City Plumbing! Our experts will give your entire system a complete cleaning and inspection, to make sure you’re ready for winter! Make an appointment online, or call us today at (432) 366-2401. Give us a call, and we’ll come running!

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