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Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog

What Can Make a Furnace Smell Like Burning?

You turn on your heater, looking forward to settling in for the night and relaxing in a warm, cozy home after a long day at work. Before you know it, though, your house smells like burning! You don’t seem smoke, and you haven’t started making dinner yet, so what could it be? In fact, it could be your heater itself that is causing your house to smell like burning, and this in turn could signify a serious problem with your heater. Don’t panic, but definitely contact a professional heating technician right away. If you use a furnace in Alexandria to heat your home, and you smell burning when you turn it on, you could be dealing with one of the one of the following problems.

Dust Buildup

Let’s start things off with a situation that can be annoying, but which is also ultimately harmless: dust buildup. If you turn your heater on for the first time, and you had it maintained earlier in the year, then the burning smell coming from your vents could just be that of dust burning off. It doesn’t take all that long for dust to accumulate. If you continue to smell a burning odor throughout the heating season, though, you are likely dealing with a more serious issue.


One of the aforementioned “more serious” issues is the overheating of a component in your furnace. A common culprit is the fan motor, especially in instances when the air filters in the system are clogged up. If the furnace really has to struggle in order to force air through your air filters, then it may cause the motor to overheat. This can lead to that unpleasant burning odor.

Electrical Problems

It doesn’t matter what the issue is, really. You must call for professional help. Why? Because even if it turns out to be nothing more than dust, the fact is that it could be something as serious as electrical problems leading wires to melt their casings. When that happens, you’re dealing with a real fire risk.

Schedule your heating repairs with the skilled technicians at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.


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