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Why Does My Heater Smell?
Photo courtesy of Camden
Photo courtesy of Camden
Brooke Kinert
Friday, Nov. 10, 2023

I love crisp fall days! Although a good deal of the world believes the Hollywood image of Texas as a desert with cowboys riding off into a hot, dusty sunset, we actually do experience cold weather in Texas.

I long for the first cold front of the season, which usually slips down to Houston in mid to late October. In my home, that means the A/C is turned off and the windows are opened. Our heater remains off until it is absolutely necessary, usually once the overnight temperature drops below 50, during our first true 'Arctic blast' in November.

Kick On The Heat - Wait, What's that Smell?

Some people might have been using their heater ever since the temperature dropped below 70, but it seems that most of our North Texas Camden residents turned them on for the first time a couple of weeks ago.

How do I know? There is a yearly phenomenon that happens after the first cold snap – we are overwhelmed with service calls for a strange burning smell after the heater is turned on.

During our long, hot summers while the heater is on siesta, dust accumulates around the heating element. When the heater is turned on for the first time in the fall, those dust particles will burn up and cause a mild burning smell, possibly causing a small amount of smoke and setting off your sensitive smoke detectors.

These are perfectly everyday happenings and should not be cause for alarm, especially if everything goes away within 30 minutes. As any Texan will tell you, if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes! Even though we had to heat our homes last night, it might be another month before our next freeze, so the same thing might happen again at that time.

As long as everything is fine reasonably soon after the heater is turned on, you are good to go. Of course, if you fear that the situation is more than just a simple dust burn-off, I highly recommend that you call 911 in emergency situations.

If you continue to notice a smell, if there is an excessive amount of smoke, or if your smoke alarms will not go silent, please call your friendly Camden maintenance professional. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and they are ready to take care of any of your emergency maintenance needs.

If you do not know how to reach your on-call maintenance staff member, please call your Camden community office and they will walk you through the simple process. I hope you have a chance to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather before it changes once again! Happy Fall, Y’all!

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