Tracking Down the Cause of Your Heater’s Burning Smell

Furnace Repair in San Antonio, TX

Fire is a risk that should be taken seriously by every homeowner in San Antonio. That’s why it’s natural to be concerned when you notice a burning smell coming from your furnace. By better understanding your furnace, you’ll be able to get a good feel for whether or not you should be concerned when you encounter this disconcerting odor. Here are a few tips from Rosenberg Plumbing & Air to help put your mind at ease.

How a Furnace Operates

To understand the potential cause of a burning smell in your furnace, it’s important to understand how your furnace operates. When your thermostat calls for heat, the heating cycle initiates. First, if you have a gas furnace, the draft inducer will turn on, ensuring that any harmful gases stay out of your living area. Then, the burner will ignite, firing up the heat exchanger. When the heat exchanger reaches the correct temperature, the blower fan will turn on, pushing cold air over the exchanger so that the temperature of the air rises as it’s distributed throughout your home. Any of these individual components can potentially have a malfunction that can lead to a burning smell.

New-Season Shock

By far, the most common cause of a burning smell in a heater is the cause for least concern. When you turn on your furnace for the first time in a season, you will likely notice a burning smell for a few minutes. This smell is simply caused by burning dust. Over the summer, when air isn’t flowing through the furnace, dust collects on the burner and heat exchanger. When you apply high heat, the dust burns, leading to the burning smell that causes momentary panic.

Repeat Offender

In certain cases, you may notice that dust-burning smell more than once. If your home is especially dusty, the dust can accumulate quickly enough that you’ll get this burning smell a few times in a season. However, if this happens every time you turn on your furnace, you need to make sure that your air filter is properly installed. If it’s not, excess dust could be entering your system, which could lead to premature system failure. You may also want to have Rosenberg Plumbing & Air inspect your system to make sure that you don’t have any gaps in your ducts that are allowing dust to enter the heating chamber in your furnace.

Serious Concerns

It’s always important to pay attention to burning smells coming from your furnace, especially if those smells are persistent. A variety of serious failures can cause a burning smell in your heater. For example, the thermal limit switch could fail, causing the internal components in your furnace to overheat. Additionally, the blower fan could malfunction, causing a reduced volume of air to flow over the heat exchanger. If this condition persists, the heat exchanger could crack, which would likely necessitate furnace replacement by Rosenberg Plumbing & Air.

Are You Sure It’s the Heater?

Before you give Rosenberg Plumbing & Air a call for a burning smell, you might want to consider other possible causes of the smell. For example, if you have a heating system that operates close to flammable materials, the smell you notice could come from these materials instead of the heater itself. If you have a space heater that’s plugged into an overloaded outlet, the burning smell could be a sign of the beginnings of an electrical fire, an issue you’ll need to address immediately. Ultimately, having working smoke detectors in place throughout your home will help ensure that you aren’t caught off-guard by various fire hazards.

Catch Problems Quickly

The best way to prevent major malfunctions in your heating system is to keep your furnace properly maintained. An experienced technician from Rosenberg Plumbing & Air has the trained eye to be able to notice small defects that can eventually lead to major problems. Therefore, you should consider having someone maintain your furnace at least once a year so that you don’t run into issues that leave you out in the cold. Plus, proper maintenance will ensure that your system is always operating at peak efficiency, helping to save you money on the coldest winter days.

Don’t Risk It

If you think your furnace is having trouble, your best solution is to call Rosenberg Plumbing & Air. We can handle furnace repair, maintenance, and replacement, and we can also install dehumidifiers, ductless systems, UV sanitizers, and much more. Our A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and our five-star reviews attest to the fact that we can handle any HVAC emergency with integrity. To learn more about taking care of your furnace, contact us at Rosenberg Plumbing & Air today.