What is That Burning Smell? Reasons Your Heater Smells

Whether you’re just sitting at home, waking up or coming home from a long day, there’s nothing that strikes fear and panic into your heart faster than a burning smell.

Fires can break out anytime, and when you smell something burning, that’s often the first thought people have. While there may be many things that can cause a burning smell, today, let’s take a look at your heater. We’re going to explore the reasons why the odor is coming from your heater.

Here’s what you need to know:

Clogged Air Filter

While most air filters are pretty easy to replace and set up, some can be harder to figure out or get to. If you can’t get to the filter or take it apart to clean out the dirt, you may be dealing with a clogged filter.

When this happens, you’ll start to notice a burning smell from the vents. This could just be the dust passing by the heating chamber and causing a burning smell. If problem persists, contact a qualified HVAC technician to come and service your equipment.


Mold can build up in your vents and ducts, and you could end up with some pretty severe mold growing in there. If you have pets or allergies, you may face this issue more than normal.

While uncommon, if you feel that this could be an issue, you should contact a mold remediation company to come out and inspect your problem as this could cause major issues in the home.

Debris in the Heating System

If you’ve had your heater for a while, you may have noticed some build-up in the grates. This build-up can cause debris to block the heat from escaping the device. This will cause it to overheat and get a burning smell.

Getting rid of this build-up can be done by simply removing the grates and cleaning them. This will help get rid of the debris and allow the heat to escape outside the home.

You may want to also contact a company who specializes in cleaning duct systems.

The Bottom Line

These are some of the most common causes of heating units smelling like burning. If you’re not sure what to do, you may need to call a professional. Your heating unit should be cleaned out once a year, so you may want to have someone come out to take a look.

If you are looking for reliable furnace maintenance and repair services, we can help you. The Good Guys Home Services is the leading furnace, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) repair company in Indiana. You can count on us to keep your air nice, fresh, and clean. Contact us today to learn more or book online now!


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