Why Is There a Burning Smell When I Turn On My Heat?

The average American household spends around $1856 on energy bills every year. Although air conditioning accounts for the majority of this, heating is a major factor too — especially in colder states!

Still, sometimes people have to spend more — for example, when things go wrong. Unfortunately, everyone’s likely to experience some HVAC problems at some point in their life.

One sign you may have an issue with it is a burning smell when the heat comes on. Here’s what could be causing that and what you need to do.

The Most Common Reason

The likely reason there’s a burning smell is a dust buildup on the unit.

This is especially common in winter when the heat hasn’t been turned on in a while, so the dust has had time to accumulate and now it’s burning due to the high heat it’s exposed to.

If this is a one-off occurrence when you haven’t had the heat on for a while, don’t worry about it. Wait for a while and the burning smell should dissipate. It’s not necessarily a sign of any extreme HVAC issues!

What to Do if the Smell Lingers

If the burning smell lingers, there may be more of a reason to worry. At this point, it’s time to change out the filter.

You should, as a general rule, be changing your air filter every time it’s necessary — when the seasons change, there’s more dust in the air, or every 90 days if you’re unsure of what to look for. If you haven’t done it in a while, it’s a pretty quick DIY project and after doing that, the burning smell should disappear.

Remember, air quality is important to your health, so don’t skip out on this!

When to Call In Experts

If you aren’t comfortable changing the filter on your own or notice that something looks off when doing so, it’s a good idea to have the pros take a look.

You should be getting HVAC service once or twice a year to check for any problems, but if you haven’t done this, it’s even more important to have someone come and take a look.

Another reason you might want to call in an expert is if the burning smell persists, happens every time you turn on the heat, or is particularly strong. It’s better to be safe than sorry and an HVAC company will know exactly what to look for to see if there are any problems.

If you’re even the slightest bit in doubt or need your mind to be put at rest, ask them to take a look and confirm everything is in good shape.

A Burning Smell Isn’t Necessarily a Sign of HVAC Problems…

While a burning smell doesn’t mean you have extreme HVAC problems — especially if it goes away after the first time the heat has been on in a while — you need to get the unit looked at by a professional if it persists or is particularly strong.

If you’re looking for an HVAC professional in Lebanon, TN, contact us today and we’d be happy to take a look.

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