What's that smell? Turning on your furnace for the first time

November 02, 2021

This time of year is usually when most New Jersey families give into cool weather changes and switch on their heating system after a long summer of running the air conditioning. As they flip the thermostat to heat mode, they're expecting a warmer home, but they often also notice an unexpected burning smell coming from their vents. “Why does my furnace smell as if it's burning?” is a question we often hear from our A.J. Perri customers.

No, you're not imagining it – most furnaces do smell a bit like burnt toast when homeowners first turn them on for the winter season. To put your worries at ease, our team of heating experts finds there are a few reasons why this could happen.

  • When was the last time you changed your air filter? A dirty air filter can cause your furnace to overheat and produce a burning smell.
  • Several things could have happened since its last use if it's been months since you last turned on your furnace. You may find parts and pieces have shifted during the off-season. If you believe this is the case, turn off your system and give A.J. Perri a call.
  • In the off-season, your system also collects dust, and those particles burn off the first time you switch on your furnace. This is the leading cause of the initial/temporary burning smell floating throughout your home.

Again, when turning your furnace on for the first time, you should expect a burning smell likely caused by #3 on our above list. Typically, this isn't a case where you should panic. If you feel that dust isn't your issue, don't hesitate to call our team of experts who can come and look at your system.

Call us to speak with an A.J. Perri Comfort Consultant and schedule your appointment today if you live in Tinton Falls or surrounding areas.

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Last Updated: July 06, 2023