As the cold season approaches in Oklahoma City, you will need to turn on the heater to warm up your home. When you first turn on your heater, though, you may begin to smell burning. Don’t get alarmed immediately since it may be only dust burning off after setting unused over time. However, you should not take the burning smell lightly either because it might indicate a problem with your heating system. As soon as you notice it, you should call our HVAC experts immediately. They will help you determine the exact cause of the problem and assist you in addressing it.
What Causes the Burning Smell From the Heater?
It’s important to mention that after installing a heater, you may notice a burning smell when you first switch it on. Typically, this type of smell doesn’t stick around long. It dwindles in a few minutes to an hour. You should only be alarmed if the smell persists for more than 24 hours. But with older heaters, a burning smell is an indicator that something is wrong with the system. Some of the reasons why your heater could be producing the smell include:
1. Debris in the Heater
Sometimes, objects fall into the heater, especially when the system has not been in use for a while. Such objects could fall in through the AC system or vents used for central heating or cooling. It could be objects such as toys, small appliances, buttons, or any other small object. When debris, especially rubber or plastic, falls in a heater, it can burn up and cause a burning smell.
If you notice a burning smell, you can check around the heating system to determine the exact point where the smell is coming from. However, you should contact a professional HVAC system expert to help you remove such debris. DIY extraction attempts are dangerous, and you could end up burning yourself in the process. Therefore, do not attempt to remove any objects from the heater.
2. Dust Accumulation in the Furnace
A burning smell could also be a result of dust accumulation in the furnace. This often happens when the heater has not been used or neglected for a while, such as during summer. Depending on the location of the furnace and the environment around your home, dust could get into the heater.
If you turn on your heater after a long time, the dust collected in the furnace is liable to burn. This should not alarm you since the smell will fade away after a while when all the dust burns out. You can sit it out for five to ten minutes to see if it will go away. If it doesn’t, that’s an indication of a problem with the heater itself. You should seek professional help for an inspection of repair.
3. A Dysfunctional Furnace
If you constantly smell the burning every time you switch on your heater, it could mean that your furnace is faulty. You’ll often come to this conclusion if you have tried searching for the source of the burning smell to no avail. A structure fault or dysfunctional compartments in the furnace may burn when forced to work.
If the dysfunction touches essential areas in the furnace, such as the ignition chamber or the fuel lines, it could lead to a fire hazard. Therefore, strive to have your heating system inspected and repaired as soon as you notice a consistent burning smell that you can’t seem to locate its origin.
4. An Old Filter
As your heater ages, so does the components in it, more so, the air filter. Over time, the filter accumulates dust, dirt, and hair, clogging it and making it harder for air to pass through it. Should this happen, your heater will have a harder time trying to force air through the remaining open spaces in the filter. The constant need for your heater to push air may result in overcompensation and burning out. This can be resolved by replacing the old filter with a new one.
For non-central home heaters, a burning smell could originate from:
- The heater burning up the debris that has fallen inside it
- The heat scorching nearby objects such as the wall, cloth, or carpet
- A system malfunction originating from the power source
Regardless of the heater, it’s important to contact a professional HVAC expert to help you address the issue and resolve it before escalating into an accident.
Are you in need of HVAC experts in Oklahoma City? TS Heat & Air has skilled technicians that can help solve your heating problems. We also provide cooling and air purification services, too. Contact TS Heat & Air for more information or to schedule an appointment.