As a chill fills the air, you excitedly go to fire up your heating system for the first time this season … then a nasty burning odor is everywhere!
What’s going on with your system? Could it be possessed by evil spirits?!
While the cause likely isn’t paranormal, a burning smell signals something is seriously wrong with your heating system. Here are some creepy possibilities to watch out for:
If dust, dirt, and debris have built up inside the system over the long summer, they can burn and cause an awful stench when you first turn it on. Have your ducts deep cleaned by a professional to banish these unwanted dust gremlins from your home before they stink things up.
Misbehaving pilot flame
If your gas system has a pilot light (so, don’t worry about this if you have an electric system), carefully inspect the flame and make sure it’s igniting and burning properly. If the flame is misfiring, sputtering, or going out completely, raw gas can pool in the heat chamber and create a horrible burning smell when ignited. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and adjust the pilot light accordingly to fix this frightening issue.
Catching a whiff of acrid smoke or burning plastic could indicate electrical issues like damaged wiring or an overheating component such as the blower motor. Electrical malfunctions and glitches can wreak havoc on heating system operations. Call in a heating and cooling technician immediately to investigate any phantom smoke smells.
One of the most dangerous smells is the scent of natural gas or fumes. If you spot odd flames around the blower motor or in areas where there shouldn’t be fire, this likely points to a risky gas leak in the system. Shut everything down and get professional help immediately to address the leak before it becomes deadly.
Carbon monoxide creepers
The most alarming heating system smell is an odor of burning soot or smoke. This can mean a severe crack in the heat exchanger is allowing carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes to leak into your home. This is an extremely hazardous situation that requires total system replacement right away.
While not literally supernatural, strange system odors can be downright scary. But with a thorough professional inspection and some “ghost-busting” maintenance, you can get yours working properly again!