Smelling Burning Dust
When you first turn your heater on, and you smell a dusty smell, chances are that this dust is just burning off the heat strips of your HVAC unit. These dust particles can include pet hair and other debris. The odor should go away once the debris has burned away. This should only take a few minutes. If for some reason, the smell gets stronger or lasts a long time, call your local heating and cooling company to come and make sure that it is nothing serious. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Electrical Burning Smell
Mildew or Musty Smell
When you turn on your heat, and the air starts to circulate through your system, you may smell a musty or mildew smell. If you smell this, you have mildew or mold growing in your ductwork or the heating system itself. Sometimes, the smell is just on the debris that is gathered onto the elements of your unit. This should burn off, and dissipate when you turn your unit on. If the smell does not go away, clean your filters or replace them. If the smell is ongoing, you may need to get your system inspected as well as cleaned. Your local heating and cooling company will be able to do that for you.
How Seasonal Maintenance Will Help
If you are concerned about smelling a strange smell when you turn on your unit, you may want to consider hiring a heating and air company that handles seasonal maintenance. Fall maintenance and unit checkup can help to diagnose problems and prevent issues from ever happening. Both your heating unit as well as your air conditioning unit should be serviced before the season of use (ie Fall and Spring).
Typically, a burning smell in your unit is nothing to be concerned about and will dissipate quickly. However, keep an eye on it and if you have concerns, call your local heating and air specialists today.