That Burning Smell...Normal or Dangerous?

Every fall we get multiple calls from customers who are nervous about the burning smell that fills their homes when furnaces and air handlers are set to heat for the first time.  We suggest that all customers have seasonal maintenance to assure that their heaters are running safely and efficiently.  If you have to turn on your heater before maintenance consider the following:

A mild smoke smell is normal if it lasts no more than a minute or two and does not happen again the next time the heat is turned on.  If your system is new, it is not uncommon for new gas furnaces to burn off the oil coating the heat exchanger the first time it is used.  Installation procedures usually call for a prolonged firing of the furnace when the system is installed but this is not always done in the heat of summer.

Cautions.  The amount of smoke or burning smell produced is a good indicator of the need for maintenance.  Normal smoke is caused by dust accumulating on furnace heat exchangers or electric heat strips.  Heavy smoke smell is an indication of poor filtration or paper and insulation inside the furnace.  If there is lint and dust on your heat strips there is likely dust accumulating on the blower wheel, hurting efficiency.

If your smoke detector goes off, consider calling a professional.  Smoke detectors, like breakers in your electrical panel, are indicators of problems.  Ignore them once and be alert, ignore them twice and be concerned.

Surgi's is now offering $40 off heater clean and checks.  Call us at 469-4232 to schedule your fall maintenance at 469-4232.  We're here to help.

© 2011 Surgi's Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.