Why Does My Heater Smell?

Why Does My Heater Smell?

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Chances are, you’ve smelled an odor when you’ve turned on the heat before. While this phenomenon isn’t necessarily cause for alarm, never take chances with your heating system. The following are some common smells, and the reasons behind them:

Burning Dust

This is the most common smell of all. Your system can accumulate dust and other particles from your air supply. When you turn on the heat, these particles create a burning dust smell. While this is normal for the first few times you turn on the heat, if this smell persists, call a professional to make sure there’s not an ongoing issue.

Burning Plastic

Although it’s uncommon, sometimes plastics, rubber or other materials can get into your ductwork through the air vents. If this smell is isolated to one location inside the house, inspect your air vents to ensure they’re not obstructed, but don’t close them because this can cause your system to become off-balance and may reduce its efficiency. If the smell persists, you may consider have your ducts thoroughly examined and cleaned.

Electric Burning

Now, this is a smell that may be cause for concern, as it could mean you have an electrical problem. If it persists after a couple of heating cycles, it could be serious, and you should call a professional.


If your heating system has a musty odor, you may have mold and mildew in your heating system or ductwork. The fix may be as simple as changing your air filters. But if not, a thorough home duct cleaning might be in order. Having an A#1 Air duct cleaning will thoroughly sanitize the air, and remove bacterial growth from your ductwork. That said, you may want to consider having your system fully inspected to see if mold is growing in other areas of your home, as it could be dangerous to your family’s health.

Gunpowder Smell

This type of smell may be indicative of a fried circuit board or fan motor. If your heater smells like gunpowder, we recommend you immediately turn off the heat, and have an emergency inspection performed before turning it back on.

If any of the above smells are persistent, the pros at A#1 Air stand ready to help. Remember, we’re here for you 24/7, with no overtime charges. And we stand behind all our work with a 100% money-back guarantee. Call us today.

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