© 2018 Elsevier B.V.Residential heating is one of the major sectors that contribute to emissions of harmful air pollutants in urban areas. In Istanbul, local sources are the main contributors of particulate matter levels. To quantify the contributions of residential heating sector to ambient particulate matter concentrations, we have developed an up to date spatially distributed high-resolution emissions inventory based on local activity data. The air quality simulations were conducted using the CMAQ (version 5.2). Our study results showed that our high-resolution emissions of the residential heating sector significantly improve the spatial distribution and concentration of air pollutants (SO2, PM10, PM2.5) for Istanbul. Air quality model simulations with our high-resolution emissions underestimated PM10 concentrations throughout the study episode on average by only 4.16% with a mean bias of 2.23 μg/m−3 while base inventory underestimated PM10 concentrations on average by 35.1% with a mean bias of 18.91 μg/m−3. Results show that our spatially distributed high-resolution emissions inventory produces more realistic results for Istanbul during wintertime when residential heating has the most influence on local air pollution.