What is that burning smell when you turn on your heat?

We’ve all been there – Turning on your heat for the first time In a few months and smelling a burning odor. While this usually is not cause for a huge concern, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. As your trusted HVAC professionals in Pittsburgh, we are well equipped to answer any questions you may have regarding this burning smell or any other HVAC questions you may have.

So, what is the likely cause of that burning smell? Dust.

As our heating systems remain stagnant throughout the warmer months, it’s normal for dust to settle on the system and its components. When you turn your heater back on after months of no use, you smell this dust burning, causing you to feel concerned. However, the smell should go away after a few minutes and should not recur every time you use your heating system. If you do notice the smell occurs with each use of your heater for longer than a few minutes, you may have another problem on your hands.

As with almost any heating or cooling system, it is always important to check the air filter. Air filters inside heating systems often hold dust, debris, pet hair, and any other small particles that can be trapped inside without immediate visibility. When the heating system is turned on, you may smell this burning odor if your air filter is clogged. Be sure to look into this on occasion, especially if you use your system frequently.

Typically, once you replace your air filter, the  burning smell should go away. If it persists, though, it is probably time to contact your local HVAC company to get to the root of the problem. A constant burning smell could also mean wiring issues. While this is rare, it is definitely a possibility and your system should be inspected accordingly to prevent any harm to yourself, others, or the unit as a whole.

At Triangle AC, we work with all makes and models of heaters to ensure we can get your system running to the best of its ability each and every day. From routine maintenance to 24/7 service available, we’re the team to trust for all your HVAC needs. 

When looking for a quality HVAC team to get your heating and cooling system running as it should, contact us. We’re more than happy to address your concerns and help you come to an affordable and manageable solution!