If you find yourself wondering why your heater smells like something is burning, there are a few possible causes. Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of this smell because it could originate from inside or outside the home. Here in this article, we have laid out three common causes of that burning smell when turning on the heater.
1. Clogged Air Filter
Air filters are important for home heating systems because they protect the system and your family from dust, pollen, mold spores, animal dander, bacteria, and other contaminants. They also help to distribute the heated air throughout the house by removing cold pockets such as in front of exterior doors or around furniture.
According to the manufacturer’s instructions, the filter should be changed regularly, but if it’s clogged, it can’t do its job, and heated air will bypass the filter, causing it to overheat. It will create a burning smell as well as potentially dangerous conditions.
2. Dust and Debris
Just like an air filter, your heater’s heat exchanger can become clogged with dust and debris if it isn’t cleaned regularly. This area gets hot from the combustion process and tends to collect a lot of dirt over time, especially in homes that don’t have forced-air systems. If you see rust or discoloration on the heat exchanger, it’s time to call for a professional cleaning.
Several issues can arise from an overheated and clogged heat exchanger, such as cracked or broken fins that allow dangerous gases into your home, as well as carbon monoxide poisoning in extreme cases. Plus, it is also important to winterize your furnace step by step to ensure you’re safe and warm and that the system is working efficiently.
3. Wiring Issues
If you smell something burning when turning on your heater, it may not necessarily be related to the heating system at all. It could very well be a problem with wiring or even just one of your electrical outlets. Ensure to hire an expert to check any light fixtures and heating in Chicagoland around the area where you are smelling smoke, as this could indicate an issue with loose or frayed wires.
While it’s not always easy to determine the source of a burning smell when turning on your heater, several common causes exist. By being aware of these issues, you can take steps to prevent them from happening and keep your family safe. If you experience a burning smell and can’t identify the cause, be sure to call a professional to come out and inspect your heating system.