There is a Burning Smell When I Turn On My Heater!

It smells like something is burning when I turned my heat on for the first time, should I be worried?

We don’t use our heat in Phoenix, AZ nearly as much as we use our air conditioners, but we definitely get cold enough for a few months of the year to require running our heating systems. My heat pump is running as I type this because it is currently 52 degrees and windy at 11am in Mesa, and the forecast calls for temperatures in the 30’s tonight.

While this article is probably going to put you at ease that there is not a risk of fire from that odor you are smelling, it would be irresponsible for me to advise you not to have it looked at…especially if you have a gas furnace which utilizes an open flame to heat.

Chances are that smell from your central heating system is caused by dirt, dust, animal dander etc. that has collected on the inner surfaces of your heater and is now being burnt by your heating system. While this is nasty to breathe in, and a sign your heating system needs a good cleaning, it is most likely not going to cause a fire.

That said, if you see or smell smoke – get everyone out of the house and call 911.

You should never see smoke coming from your vents, attic, or frankly anything associated with your heating system regardless of if it’s a heat pump, gas furnace, or electric furnace.

If you’ve ever smelled the distinct odor of something electrical burning, and it smells like that – turn off your system immediately and call your heating and air conditioning company to check the unit out. Burning electrical smells are usually associated with faulty motors. It’s important to replace faulty motors and wiring before damage can be done to other components.

Now a short lecture:

You should have your heating system cleaned and maintained before turning it on every year just as you should before you switch back to air conditioning every year.

Pre-season cleaning and maintenance will prevent this odor for one, because your system will be cleaned and there won’t be any dust, dander, etc. to burn when you fire up that heating system. Secondly, things like faulty motors, capacitors, wiring, etc. will be identified and repaired or replaced prior to there being any risk of further damage or fire!

The good news is, if there is no sign of smoke, or distinct electrical burning smell, you are probably not at risk of a safety hazard or property damage…however you and your family are breathing in some pretty nasty stuff, so call for a cleaning!

If you live within 35-miles of Mesa, AZ where Magic Touch Mechanical’s corporate offices are located and need an HVAC Company you can trust to clean and tune your heating system, contact us today for relentless customer service! We have been exceeding client expectations in the Phoenix-Metro area for over 20-years!