Burning odors coming from your furnace can be alarming. If you do notice a burning odor, you should turn the system off completely and make sure there are no smoke alarms going off that could indicate an actual fire. Then, once you're sure nothing is on fire, call your HVAC contractor. The way they address this issue will depend on the reason your furnace smells like it is burning. Here are some common reasons for burning odors and the ways furnace repair technicians generally address them.

Dirty Burner

One possibility is that your furnace burner has simply become dusty, and the burning odor you smell is just that dust burning. If this is your problem, your HVAC contractor will generally clean the furnace burner. They will likely also replace your air filter, and they may recommend a different kind of air filter for you to use in order to more effectively trap dust and keep your furnace burner cleaner going forward.

Electrical Issues

If the burning smell you notice has a metallic quality to it, then it may be overheating wires that you smell. This can occur when a furnace has a short in its electrical supply or when one of the capacitors is failing. A furnace repair technician can replace any broken capacitors. They can usually also run new wiring to your furnace if needed, although they may call in an electrician to help with this task. Sometimes, electrical issues come down to a burned-out circuit board. This is a more extensive problem and may warrant replacing your furnace as repairs can get expensive.

Foreign Objects

It's also possible that a foreign object made its way into the furnace. Did a child put something through the furnace door? Did a small item fall from the ducts into the furnace? If your furnace technician finds something burning inside the furnace, they will generally remove it. Then, they will make some changes so nothing else gets into your furnace. For instance, they may better secure the furnace door or add a grate to a vent so nobody can put another foreign object into the ducts.

It's not normal to smell a burning odor coming from your furnace. If you've been struggling with this problem, definitely get in touch with a furnace repair contractor sooner rather than later. They can take a look and perform the necessary repairs to keep your system safe.

Reach out to a furnace repair technician for more information.