A burning smell may result from a number of factors.
For example, dust buildup can be easily removed.
Your furnace may smell like burning due to dust burnoff. This is perfectly normal. Your heater collects dust when it sits unused. Spring and summer are prime times for dust to settle on heaters, since most Americans cool their homes in the warmer months. Dust in and around your heater will increase as it warms up. When you first turn on your heater this winter, the burning dust gives off a smoky smell. You should notice the burning smell start to fade within a few hours. If the stench persists, check the air filters and the area around the heater for any foreign objects. The burning dust smell is normal, but it’s not pleasant. The use of air purifiers may help eliminate smoky odors. Objects can easily fall through your vents. Foreign objects trapped in your ductwork can emit a burning plastic or rubber smell. Debris can also enter the furnace. Foreign objects can clog the inner components of your heater, causing it to burn out more quickly. If the heater smells like burning plastic, turn it off immediately. When the odor is concentrated in one vent, you probably have a foreign object in your heating system. If the smell is coming from your furnace, you might have an overheated motor or faulty wiring. A clogged filter can lead to a domino effect of problems with your heater. In order for the blower motor to function properly, a clean filter is necessary. When the air filter is dirty, the blower motor works harder to push more air through the system. Overworking can lead to overheating, resulting in a burning odor. Additionally, dirty filters can collect mold. A clogged filter could be to blame if your home fills with a mold or mildew odor when the heat kicks on. Wiring problems can cause pungent odors such as gunpowder, rubber, and plastic. Turn off your heater immediately if you smell any of those smells. There are safety measures built into most furnaces to prevent the machine from overheating. However, these features can sometimes fail. A mild burning smell is normal when your heater is revving up for the winter. Pungent or long-lasting smells indicate a more serious problem with your furnace.