The leaves are turning color, the birds are flying south, and there is a crisp coolness in the air. It’s fall in Wilmington NC and winter is on the way! After a long rest it’s time to get your heating system ready. Most homes in our area use split system heat pumps, so they’ve been working all summer. Though when your heat kicks on your heating system has a burning smell. This article will explain what it is, how to minimize the smell, and when to worry.
What Causes It
When you first switch from AC to heat, you shouldn’t be alarmed if your heating system has a burning smell. While the components were sitting unused during the summer and warmer months, dust and debris collected. Therefore, when you crank the heating element on this debris will burn off. This will create a faint burning smell. After running for a bit, it should go away once everything has burned off.
How to Help
There are a few ways to help alleviate the smell. First is having annual maintenance. During a maintenance visit your system is cleaned and tested. Which can help eliminate some of the dust and debris buildup. Although, if yours was performed already this year particles may have resettled. But that’s okay! A simple solution is to run your heat for the first time during a mild day. This way you can open your windows to help the scent escape while not compromising your home comfort. If you wait until it’s 30°, you’re not going to want to open your window.
When to Contact a HVAC Professional
If your heating system has a burning smell even after you’ve been using the heat for a while, you should contact a professional. Like mentioned earlier, the first time you use it the smell is simply debris burning off. Once that smell goes away you should not have it return the rest of the season. If your system smells odd during the middle of winter, there may be a problem.
So again, no need to worry if your heating system has a burning smell when you are first using it after it rests a while. If your heating system has a burning smell in the middle of winter after it’s been running for months without one, you should contact a professional. Whether a minor issue, or a major; having a burning smell is a sign the system needs attention.