smoke smell from furnace

Does your furnace smell smoky after starting? If you have concerns, call Felix Appliance Heating & Air at 480-406-7487.

Many people become aware of a smoke smell from their furnace right around cold weather season. Understandably, noticing such a smell from your furnace can be stress-inducing or worrisome since we associate burning with fire. Despite our immediate instincts, however, the scent might not indicate a problem at all.

The experts at Felix Appliance Heating & Air provide high-quality furnace repair in Mesa, AZ, and surrounding areas. Our experience with HVAC systems allows us to help you understand the smoky smell coming from your furnace.

Reasons Behind Smoky Furnace Smells

You can somewhat troubleshoot the causes of a smoky or musty smell from your furnace. Consider these causes as you review them and see which one might fit your system best. This process can help determine if you can DIY your solution or need professional assistance.

#1. The Furnace Is Burning Dust After Disuse

People may not use their furnaces for six months or more when the temperatures don’t call for heat. When you don’t use your furnace for a while, dust settles on the system. Layers of dust can also form around internal parts, like the heat exchanger or burners. 

Once you turn the furnace on, it starts to burn away the dust, leading to a smoky smell. Thankfully, this situation generally has no safety risks. 

To lessen the annoyance, you can turn on the furnace in the afternoon. Open the windows to air out the property, and give the furnace time to burn the dust away. Then by evening, when you’ll use the furnace the most, there won’t be any more dust to burn away.

#2. Clogged Filters and Electrical Problems

If your furnace has dust, the burning smell should only last for a few minutes at most. If it continues for several hours, the problem likely goes beyond some superficial dust layers.

Clogged air filters or an electrical issue can cause long-lasting burning smells. While you can solve the air filter problem, you should call a professional to resolve electric malfunctions.

Clogged filters back up the system, giving the burners a constant supply of burnable material. The filters can also make the blower motor overwork and overheat. The clog can also cause the air ducts to become filthy.

You can resolve the filter issue by replacing it with a clean one. If the smell doesn’t go away, the ducts probably also have dust lined through them. Calling a specialist to clean out the system can help eliminate the smoke smell from your furnace.

An electrical issue can cause sparks as you use the furnace, which produces a smoky smell. These issues can disrupt the safety mechanisms of your furnace, allowing it to overheat instead of turning itself off. Electrical malfunctions create a fire hazard that technicians must resolve as soon as possible for your safety.

#3. Foreign Objects in Your Furnace System

Sometimes, the wrong things make their way into HVAC systems, like plastic forks stuck through the vents by curious kids. As the furnace sends heat through your property, it can start to melt plastic and other materials. Depending on the kind of object, it can be a minor inconvenience or a health hazard.

For example, burning plastic can emit toxic fumes and lead to symptoms such as:

Short-term exposure generally will not result in long-lasting health concerns. Air out your property as soon as possible if you smell something like burnt plastic.

#4. Your Furnace Has a Gas Leak

Many modern furnaces use gas for the heat exchanger and to distribute heat energy through the property. Over time, the gas lines can wear out, or something can damage them without you realizing it.

Natural gas has no smell, but manufacturers add a sulfur, rotten egg scent to the gas to detect its presence. If you notice this particular smell or hear hissing from your furnace, you may have a gas leak.

Gas leaks can become detrimental to your health faster than burnt plastic. While it often has similar symptoms, gas leaks cause them quicker and more severe. Call a specialist immediately because we have the tools and licensing needed for complete system repairs.

Call Us for Your Furnace Issues

Felix Appliance Heating & Air can quickly find out the cause of the smoke smell from your furnace. We specialize in everything HVAC, from AC installation to furnace maintenance, with high-quality results at reasonable prices. Call 480-406-7487 to schedule your appointment in Mesa, AZ, today!

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