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Burning Smell Coming From Furnace? Here’s What To Do

How to Deal with a Burning Smell From Your Furnace

When you start your furnace, you probably expect to see it blowing cool air and maybe hear a whirring. You don’t expect it to present you with an unpleasant smell and leave you worrying about potential safety hazards. If your furnace is giving off a burning smell or any other strange odor, don’t panic. This is not necessarily a sign of imminent catastrophe. The main thing that you need to do if this happens is figure out why it’s happening and take the necessary steps to correct the problem. Read on!

4 Common Reasons Why There is  a Burning Smell from your Furnace

If your furnace has started giving off a burning smell, take it as a sign that something is awry. The burning smell coming from your furnace is a tell-tale sign that there’s something wrong with the airflow in your heating system. Here are a few common reasons why it is happening.

1. Dust or Dried Paint

If you’re regularly dusting your air vents, the burning smell from your furnace is a sure sign that you’ve got a dust buster. Dust and paint are two things that can cause your furnace to start giving off a burning smell. If this is the case, there are several steps that you can take to get rid of it.

2. A Clogged Filter

If you’ve checked for any dust or paint on your filter and still find that your furnace is giving off an unpleasant burning smell, this could be due to a clogged filter. If your filter is clogged, the airflow through your ducts will be restricted, and you’ll start to notice the burning smell.

3. A Leaking Furnace or Heater Hose

Another common reason why your furnace can give off an unpleasant burning smell is due to a leaky furnace or heater hose. If you notice a leak coming from one of these components, there is a good chance it will cause an issue with your furnace.

4. Bacterial Build-Up

If you’ve checked all the above and your furnace still gives off an unpleasant burning smell, it could be due to a bacterial build-up. This can occur with your furnace and heat pump systems, especially if you have pets or kids.

How to Get Rid of a Burning Smell from Your Furnace

Now that you know the causes, how do you eliminate this smell? Here are a few ways to eliminate it.

Change Your Filter

The first thing that you should do is to change your filter. This can help to reduce the amount of bacteria and other odors within your furnace, which will help to eliminate the burning smell.

Clean Your Furnace’s Exhaust Fan

If you notice a burnt smell in your house, it could be due to a clogged or dirty exhaust fan. You should use a compressed air can and spray it into the exhaust fan to clean it. Allow the air to pass through for about 10 seconds, then remove the can and wipe down the fan with a rag.

Clean Your Furnace’s Thermostat

If you notice that there is still a burning smell coming from your furnace after cleaning all of these areas, then it could be due to a dirty thermostat or sensor. To clean this area, you will need to remove it from the furnace and replace it with a new one. This will help eliminate any issues with your thermostat and ensure that your heat pump system is working as well as possible.

Unplug Your Furnace When Not in Use

Many homeowners have their furnaces running even when they do not need them. This can cause certain components within your furnace (like your motor) to overheat, which will cause a burning smell and damage it over time. One way to prevent this is by unplugging your furnace every time you’re not using it so that it doesn’t have enough power for the components inside of it to overheat and burn out prematurely.

Have Your Furnace Inspected by a Professional

If you notice a burning smell in your house and it doesn’t seem to go away, it could be time for an inspection by a professional HVAC repair technician. They will advise on the way forward.


If you use your furnace to heat your home, you probably know how essential it is to stay warm during the coldest months of the year. However, furnaces are not perfect, and after extended use, they begin to emit an unpleasant burnt smell. Fortunately, as you can see, this problem is easy to fix as long as you take the right measures in time.

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