Why does my furnace smell when I first turn it on?

Furnace Smell

It’s just about the time of year again when your family and your furnace become best friends. You may not think about it much throughout the rest of the year, but fall is when you become reacquainted as Indianapolis weather becomes more unpredictable. The first time you flip the switch to “heat” for the season, you may notice an unwelcoming burning smell.

“Why does it smell like something is on fire?” is a question we often get during this time of year. Here’s why your furnace will most likely greet you with a burning smell this fall.

  1. When your heating system is not in use, it collects dust. As a result, those dust particles burn off the first time you turn on your furnace, which is what contributes to the unpleasant smell. Though the scent starts with your furnace, it will travel throughout your home via the vents.
  2. If you’ve neglected to change your air filter, this could contribute to the burning smell as well. When your air filter is clogged or dirty, it can cause your furnace to overheat.
  3. The burning smell may turn into one favoring rotten eggs if you have a gas leak. If this is the case, turn off your furnace immediately and call the Service Plus team for help.
  4. When your system hasn’t been in use for a while, many parts and pieces can shift. Tiny foreign objects can also become trapped inside. If you suspect this is the cause of the burning smell, turn off your system and give us a call.

Chances are, if you’re turning on your system for the first time this season, the cause of the burning smell is likely linked to No.1 or No. 2 on our list above. The good news is this unpleasant burning smell should last no more than a few minutes. If you continue to smell something burning for a more extended period, contact our team at Service Plus Heating, Cooling & Plumbing at (317) 434-2627 for expert furnace repair.

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