What You Should Do If You Smell A Burning Scent When You Try To Run Your Heater

Posted on: 3 January 2023

If you try to run your heater and smell a burning scent, you may be dealing with something fairly common, such as dirt or dust accumulation, or you may be dealing with something more serious that requires heater repair. If you start to run your heater and you smell a burning scent, here are a few of the steps that you should follow to help you either solve the problem at hand or decide that you need help from a heater repair company. 

Step 1: Think About When the Last Time You Ran Your Heater Was

If you smell a burning scent coming from your heater, the first thing you should do is think about when the heater was last operated. If it has been a few months since the heater was last used, there is a good chance that there is dirt and dust on the heater itself, as well as in the air ducts that carry the hot air into your home. In most cases, the burning scent that you smell is related to dirt and dust being burnt after the unit has not been used. Run your heater for a couple of hours and the smell should slowly dissipate. 

Step 2: Clean Dirt and Dust From the Heater and Change the Air Filter

If you have recently run your heater, but still smell a burning scent, you should check your heater for dirt and dust, as well as change the air filter. If your air filter is full or clogged, new dirt and dust do not get trapped in the air filter. Instead, it makes its way into your heater and creates the burning scent you are smelling. Changing the air filter and removing dust from around your heater should solve the issue. 

Step 3: Ensure There is Not an Obstruction in Your Air Vents

If you are smelling a burning scent that is more prevalent in one part of the home, it may be caused by an obstruction in your air vents. Shut off your heater, and open up your air vent closest to where the scent is coming from. Use a flashlight to look around for any obstructions, including debris, trash, or even pests and their nests. If an obstruction is present, remove it and the smell should go away. 

Step 4: Call In a Professional Heating Repair Company

In many cases, a burning scent is simply caused by dirt and dust that can accumulate on your heater or in the air ducts. However, a burning scent can also indicate a more serious issue, such as a heater motor wearing out or a heater fan or belt being damaged. If you smell a burning scent coming from your heater, and you have ensured it is not caused by dirt, dust, or other obstructions, you should call in a heating repair company— such as Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning — to diagnose and repair the issue.