It happens every year as sure as Santa coming down the chimney. The temperatures drop and the heater kicks on, and you notice something in the air. It’s not the smell of pine needles from the tree, or cookies in the oven. No, this smell is from your furnace, and it isn’t good! In this post, we’ll explore what could cause this bad smell, and how to prevent it.


As mentioned, the bad smell from the furnace is one of the first things you’ll notice when cold weather shows up. In all likelihood, what you’re smelling is burning dust. That’s right. Throughout the warmer months, dust accumulates in your heating unit. When you start blasting it with heat, the dust burns off, and it starts to stink.


The simplest solution, as with any musty smell, is simply to open a door or window to allow air to flow out of your house, and be replaced with fresh air. But if it’s really cold, this may not be practical. If the smell persists, there are a couple of things you can do.

Change the filters: It’s important to remember that not all filters are disposable. Some should be cleaned and put back in place, while others should be replaced.

Clean your system: Depending on how much dust (or whatever else might be hiding in your air ducts) has accumulated, it may require a cleaning of your entire system.


The majority of the time, you will only be dealing with a bad smell. However, it’s possible that debris inside your vents could result in a fire. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, so if you see flames, or even just smoke, don’t wait! Turn your system off immediately, and extinguish the fire. If there is any doubt that the fire is out, call 9-1-1 and leave the home immediately.


In most cases, a bad smell means you need some routine maintenance, not the fire department. The Bosworth Company has the experience and know-how to make sure your HVAC system is running safely and efficiently. Call us at 432-570-5233 or schedule an appointment online. The Bosworth Company. Worth the Call. Always.