Should You Be Worried If the Heater Smells Funny When You Turn It On?

With the cold, damp North Carolina winter weather around the corner, more families will begin using their home’s heating system again. If a strange smell fills the house when the heater is turned on, this may be a sign that it is time for furnace maintenance. While it could be a simple fix, the issues should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid more expensive repairs in the future.

Dusty Smells


Just like any other spot in the house, a furnace can accumulate dust throughout the year. Heaters produce these burning smells when burning off dust or debris. Luckily, this common smell should clear up shortly on its own. If the smell persists, then it may be time to replace the filter or schedule a professional deep cleaning.

Electrical, Burnt Smells


An electrical burning smell may be more concerning. Wires, metal, or electrical units that are too close to the heater can cause an electric or metallic smell to fill the house. As a safety measure, an overheating system will normally shut off, but this won’t apply if the electrical components have been damaged. Shut off the heater immediately and request HVAC maintenance service.

Rotten Egg Smells


A natural gas leak will produce a sulfur-like smell in the air vents. Although natural gas is odorless, mercaptan, a chemical that smells like rotten eggs, is added so that residents are quickly alarmed that there is an issue. Natural gas is highly flammable and long-term exposure can be poisonous if left undetected. All residents should evacuate the house quickly, pets included, and contact their gas company to identify and repair the issue.

Although some odors from the heater are short-term and harmless, the smell of electrical burning or rotten egg should be addressed immediately. For professional heater repair or routine maintenance in the Wilmington, NC area, reach out to Advanced Air Solutions. With over 25 years of experience, our team offers maintenance and cleaning services to help keep your HVAC system running smoothly and safely. Contact us at 910-208-4324 to schedule your service today.

Leave a comment