HVAC/R Specialists Serving Reading & Berks County

Is Something Burning? Check Your Furnace

Most people might not think twice about turning on their heater just as the air is starting to get cold, but something you will think about is where that burning smell is coming from, and how you can fix it. The answer can vary depending on the type of system you have as well as any additional components or problems with it. Here are some of the most common causes

Dust Build Up

Dust buildup is the most likely cause of a burning smell, which gives off a funny smell when burned. The good news about this is that the smell should subside after a few minutes of the system running. If the smell does not go away or even worsens, shut off the unit and call a technician to diagnose any further problems.


An object or debris can become trapped in the system and be the cause of the unusual odor coming from the vents or ducts. A way to test this is to see if the smell can be pinpointed to a specific room or location in your home and to check the air ducts for debris if you use central heating and cooling. It’s possible that you may not be able to free the obstruction yourself and should call a professional to do it safely.

Dirty Air Filters

Dirty air filters and vents are also common causes of strange odors that seem to appear after starting a heating system. The vents and filters need to be cleaned every 3 months, otherwise, mold and mildew can grow in the ducts or system and cause even further problems.

Electrical Problems

If the burning odor smells like it could be something electrical, turn off the unit and call an HVAC technician immediately. There could be something wrong that is very dangerous and only someone with the proper training can fix it.