Skip to content
(716) 694-8524

Available Day or Night

What is that Odor Coming From my Furnace?

What is that Odor Coming From my Furnace?

While some smells coming from your furnace may be normal, there are some odors that may be cause for concern.

When you first turn on your heater to keep you warm during the colder Buffalo months, you may find yourself wondering, “What is that odor coming from my furnace?”. While some smells coming from your furnace may be normal, there are some odors that may be cause for concern. We are going to review common smells that your heat may produce when you first start it up for the season and what they usually mean.

What is that odor coming from my furnace?

Nothing is worse than turning on your heat to seek comfort and coziness in your Buffalo, NY home and being overwhelmed with an unpleasant smell.  

We are going to review some of the different smells a furnace can produce when it is first started for the year, and hopefully help you answer the question, “What is that odor coming from my furnace?”.

– Smoky Odor | Burning Dust Smell: If you start up your furnace and notice an unpleasant smoky smell, that is usually a sign of dust burning off and is okay. Furnaces commonly accumulate dust buildup when they have been dormant and unused for several months. The dust burning can cause your furnace to send this odor throughout your ductwork in your Buffalo home. The smoky odor should eventually disappear once all dust and other particles are burned away. If this smell lingers, that could be an indication of a larger issue and you should turn off your furnace and contact a local furnace repair professional.

– Musty Burning Aroma: When your furnace is omitting a musty and stale burning odor, that can be an indication that your air filter is dirty and clogged. Prior to turning on your furnace for the season, you should ensure your air filter is clean and ready to go. Air filters are one of the simplest elements of your Buffalo, New York home’s heating and cooling system, but are also one of the most important. Changing your home’s air filter is valuable for your home and your health. With a dirty and clogged air filter, your furnace has to work much harder, and that can cause it to overheat, in turn, creating a stale burning smell. Usually, changing your air filter will help to eliminate this unpleasant aroma, if not, contact a Buffalo HVAC expert.

– Fishy Odor | Burning Electrical: The electrical components of your heating system are typically covered in chemicals and plastic. When these components heat up and/or start burning, they can produce a fishy burning odor. If you notice a burning electrical smell coming from your furnace, you should contact a HVAC professional immediately. Furnaces are usually built to automatically power down when they start to overheat, but if the safety feature is broken, this could cause issues, create the fishy burning smell, and put you and your family at risk of an electrical fire.

– Burning Plastic: If the odor coming from your furnace smells like burning plastic, it just might be. Before you turn on your furnace for the year, you should inspect it to ensure there is nothing in it, touching it, or around it. A burning plastic odor can be caused by a foreign object being in or near your HVAC system. If you notice this smell and can’t identify what is causing the odor, shut off your furnace and contact a local furnace repair expert as soon as possible to avoid breathing in the harmful fumes and a potential fire.

If you are still asking yourself, “What is that odor coming from my furnace?”, you should contact a Buffalo, New York heating expert.  While some burning aromas coming from your heater may be normal, there are others that can be safety risks and cause damage to your furnace.

Having an annual furnace inspection and tune-up will help to ensure you and your family aren’t plugging your noses or without heat this fall and winter. Furnace manufacturers all recommend annual inspections and maintenance by a qualified technician. An annual furnace tune-up can help to identify any issues with your heater, prior to you turning it on for the season.

Reimer Home Services is your Western New York’s heating repair specialists. We fix all types of heating systems, from all manufacturers and brands. No matter what the problem is, our heating repair team can fix it.

We’ll be there when you need us most. Our team doesn’t charge extra for repairs on nights or weekends.

For expert heating repair here in Buffalo, New York, call us or request service online.