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Why Does My Furnace Smell Like Smoke When I Turn It On?

Your heating and air conditioning can smell funny from time to time. But if your furnace smells smoky, it could indicate a problem. Here are some reasons your furnace might smell like smoke when you turn it on.

It Might be Nothing to Worry About

Often, when the weather starts to cool off, and the heat turns on, your furnace might emit a strange smell. This is usually the result of dust in the heating system and your ducts. As the dust burns off or blows out through your vents, it can smell a little smoky. This is usually nothing to worry about and goes away after a few furnace cycles.

It Might be Cause for Concern

If your furnace smells like smoke, but it’s not the first run of the season, it could be something more serious than dust gathered over the summer. The potential issues include:

  • Overheating – an overheated furnace motor or overheated wiring can be a dangerous problem. The heat leads to the burning smell but indicates something is not right within the system. The smell is often from the lubricant used in the moving parts, and when it overheats, it can lead to a breakdown, leaving you without heat.
  • Dust on the Coils – dust on the coils can lead to a burning smell when you turn on the furnace for the first time in the fall. It can also happen if the emergency heat kicks in on a heat pump.

The smell of smoke is not uncommon when you turn your furnace on for the first time in the fall or winter, but if it persists, it’s time to call in for service. Schedule a furnace inspection with the pros at Wilson’s Refrigeration and Air instead of dealing with a broken system and no heat.

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