Why is There a Burning Smell When I Turn On My Heat?

The burning smell when you first turn on your heater tends to come because of disuse. Here in Pearland, cold days are rare, and heaters go months between runs. Dust and dirt tend to settle atop the heat exchanger and burners.

We clean the heater off when we do a heater tune-up, but not everyone has taken this step. Fortunately, that initial burning smell is normal enough and isn’t cause for alarm.

However, there are some signs you should call your friendly neighborhood HVAC company for help instead of pretending everything’s okay.


You smell mold or mildew.

For Pearland residents, mold and mildew are constant concerns. Our hot, humid climate means that it’s all too easy for these unwanted guests to build up in the heating coils or the ductwork.

You can change the filter to see if the problem goes away. If it doesn’t, call us—your heating system may need a deeper cleaning, and you’ll want to address the problem before the spores spread all over your house. 


You smell sulfur or rotten eggs.

That’s a sign there’s a problem with the gas. Turn off the heater, evacuate the house, and call the gas company first. They’ll look for a leak in the gas line. When they’re done, call us to inspect your system.

Please do not ignore this smell. A gas leak can be deadly: igniting fires, raising CO2 levels, or causing explosions.


You smell electrical burning smells.

Where there are electrical burning smells, there’s either a fire or a risk of one. Your motor could be blown out, but there could also be a frayed wire somewhere in your heating system.

Play it safe. Turn off the system and call us. Don’t ignore the problem. The fix may be relatively inexpensive, but a fire won’t be.


Not sure? Get help today!

You don’t have to play “name that smell” if you don’t want to. Dalton AC & Heating is happy to come inspect your system and give you a free quote on what it will take to get your heater running normally again.

Just call (713) 433-4380, and we’ll come out and see you and your heater ASAP! 



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