Our Top Priority is Customer Service
Call for Emergency +1 (289) 778-5661
furnace smells like burning rubber when it kicks on

Do you notice a burning rubber smell from your furnace every time it kicks on? If that’s the case, it is not something you should ignore. While it may not be a common issue, it poses a potential threat that must be addressed immediately.

There are several reasons why a furnace may start to give off a burning rubber smell, indicating a problem with the unit. In some cases, it may be due to the belt slipping, while in others, it may be a sign of a more severe issue like an overheated motor. Getting to the bottom of the issue before it becomes a more significant problem is essential.

In this post, we will discuss the different factors that may cause the burning rubber smell and what you can do to fix the issue. It is essential to understand what is causing the smell and take the necessary steps to address it to ensure your furnace runs effectively and safely. Let’s dive in.

Common Causes of Burning Rubber Smell

Overheated Motor

An overheated motor in your furnace can generate a burning rubber smell. There are several reasons why the motor may overheat, including the lack of lubrication or too much friction in the motor. The scent can also indicate that the motor belt is loose, causing it to slip and generate heat. The motor may become damaged if left unaddressed, leading to expensive repairs or replacements.

If you suspect that an overheated motor is the cause of the burning rubber smell, shut off your furnace immediately, and contact a professional HVAC technician. They will inspect the motor to identify the specific cause of the issue. Sometimes, the technician may lubricate the motor to reduce friction, replace a belt, or suggest a motor replacement.

Clogged Air Filter

A clogged air filter in your furnace is another common cause of the burning rubber smell. When the air filter is not clean, it can restrict the airflow in the furnace, causing the heat exchanger to overheat. This overheating can cause the rubber components in your furnace, such as the gaskets and belts, to melt and generate a burning smell. Additionally, a dirty air filter can cause issues with the furnace’s performance, increasing energy bills and reducing the furnace’s lifespan.

Regularly checking and replacing your furnace’s air filter is essential to prevent this issue. A typical air filter should be replaced every one to three months. If you smell a burning rubber odour from your furnace, you may need to replace your current filter sooner.

Leaking Oil

A leaking oil filter cap can drip onto hot furnace parts like the heat exchanger, generating a burning rubber smell. The scent can intensify as the cap leaks, putting additional pressure on the smell. If you notice the smell of burning rubber, inspect the oil filter cap to see if it’s leaking. If you see signs of a leak, tighten the cap or replace the entire oil filter.

In some cases, the burning rubber smell may not indicate a leaking cap but other oil-related issues like clogged nozzles or pumps. To ensure your furnace operates efficiently, it’s important to schedule regular maintenance checks. During a maintenance check, a technician can assess your furnace’s oil system, detect leaks, and make the necessary repairs.

Blower Wheel Issues

If the blower wheel in your furnace is rubbing against its housing or the alignment is off, it can create friction, leading to a burning smell of rubber. Over time, the continuous rubbing can damage the blower wheel and its housing, leading to costly repairs or replacements.

To address this issue, turn off the furnace and inspect the blower wheel for any visible damage or misalignment. If the wheel is rubbing against its housing, it may need some lubrication to reduce the friction. In some cases, the blower wheel may need to be replaced. If you’re unsure how to proceed, contact a technician who can assess the issue and recommend a solution.

What to Do When You Smell Burning Rubber Coming From Your Furnace

If you notice a burning rubber smell coming from your furnace, taking immediate action is essential. Once you smell the burning rubber odour, here’s what you need to do.

Turn off the furnace.

The first step is to turn off your furnace to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards. You can turn off your unit at the thermostat or by switching off the power supply to your furnace. Restarting the furnace before addressing the underlying issue may cause additional damage, so it’s essential to leave it off until you have addressed it.

Check for Visible Damage

Once the furnace is off, inspect the unit for any visible signs of damage or defects. Look for any parts that may be frayed, loose, or worn out. You may see the source of the burning rubber smell, such as a melted belt, which can indicate a more significant problem. If you’re unsure what to look for or can’t find the issue, contact your HVAC technician for assistance.

Moreover, Checking the air filter when you notice the burning rubber smell is good. If the filter is clogged, it could be a sign of the filter causing the issue. Replace or clean it as necessary to ensure it is not the source of the smell.

Replace the Air Filter

If the air filter is clogged, it can cause your furnace to overheat or create a burning rubber smell. When you inspect your furnace, check the filter and look for any signs of debris or dirt. If the filter appears clogged, replace it with a new one. A high-efficiency filter is recommended as it captures more dust and dirt particles than standard filters.

Moreover, if you’re unsure what air filter to use, contact your HVAC technician for advice and guidance on which model is best for your furnace.

Once you have replaced the air filter, restart your furnace and see if the burning rubber smell has gone away. While this may resolve your issue if the smell persists, it may indicate a more severe problem that requires professional attention.

Contact a Professional If The Problem Persists

If you cannot find the source of the burning rubber smell or determine why it’s happening, contact your local HVAC service provider for help. The technician will inspect all parts of your heating system and locate any potential issues causing the smell. They may also suggest ways to improve efficiency or maintenance tips going forward to prevent further problems in the future.

When scheduling an appointment with an HVAC service provider, ensure they provide their customers with quality repairs at affordable rates. Additionally, ask them whether they offer guarantees on their services so you get peace of mind should unexpected hiccups occur.


In conclusion, acting immediately when you smell burning rubber from your furnace is essential, as this indicates a significant issue that may cause further damage or safety hazards. To ensure the problem is resolved quickly and correctly, it’s recommended to turn off the furnace and then check for any visible signs of damage, such as melted belts or frayed wires. Additionally, replace any clogged air filters before calling an HVAC technician to assist.

You must act once you detect a burning rubber smell from your furnace. Start by switching off the power supply to your heating system and inspecting the unit for visible signs of wear and tear, such as melted parts. Additionally, be mindful of the air filter used in your system, as a clogged filter can contribute to overheating or create a burning rubber smell. If you cannot find the source of the smell or identify why it’s happening, contact a professional HVAC service provider for help.

Finally, always ensure that your HVAC technician offers reliable services at competitive prices while providing guarantees on their work should something go wrong with their repairs. Taking these steps can help ensure your issue is handled promptly and efficiently so you can return to enjoying a comfortable home environment without worrying about further danger or damage down the road.

Learning Resources

Our Latest News

The best guidelines and tech news in the industry of the Heating and Cooling service world.

Please take advantage of our blog posts that answer your questions and help you learn about our services.