Burning Smell from the Heater? What could be going Wrong

Burning Smell from the Heater? What could be going Wrong

Do you need a heating tune up Malvern? Strange smells could indicate your system is in need of immediate attention, or simply be a normal part of system operation after a season of sitting idle. How can you tell which smells are dangerous to your system or family’s health and which are harmless?

HVAC Odors Demystified

  • Burning Dust
    This odor is commonly experienced when homeowners turn on heating units for the first time in the fall. After months sitting idle, dust gathers on system components and burns off upon initial operation, exiting via your air vents. A burning dust odor that lasts a few hours and doesn’t return later in the season is no cause for concern. The odor should dissipate relatively quickly. If the odor persists, pick up a few new air filters for home air conditioner and heater. It’s good to change them regularly anyway.
  • Burning Plastic
    A burning plastic smell often indicates the need for heating repairs. The odor of smoldering plastic typically points to a foreign object that has infiltrated your furnace. This could be a system component or a child’s toy. If you detect such an odor, turn off your heater, the fumes given off may not be safe to breathe. If you can’t locate the source of the problem, contact your local HVAC pro for help.
  • Electrical Burning Odor
    Electrical burning smells can be highly alarming. This odor could indicate an overheated blower motor. Blower motors commonly overheat due to clogged air filters. Check yours, and if it’s disgusting swap it out and let the blower motor cool off for a short time before turning the system back on. Under normal operating conditions, your system should shut itself off if it begins to overheat. However, if something is wrong with this safety feature, or your system is old and antiquated, your heater could continue to run until the motor becomes dangerously hot. Additionally, electrical odors could be caused by frayed electrical wiring. For these reasons, if you notice this smell and your air filter is fine, turn off your heater and call an HVAC technician pronto.
  • Gunpowder
    Similar to an electrical smell, a gunpowder-like aroma could indicate a fried fan motor or circuit board. If your heater or furnace emits this smell, turn it off immediately and schedule HVAC emergency repair before attempting to turn your heater back on.
  • Smoky/Oily Odor
    If you have an oil furnace you may encounter this smell – and it’s not good. Turn off the heater contact an HVAC expert.

With the exception of burning dust, most heater smells indicate the need for a professional inspection, as they could be potentially dangerous to your health and the longevity of your system.

Don’t let your system go up in smoke. If you’re concerned about strange smells coming from your heater, identify them fast with the help of a knowledgeable H&H Heating & Air Conditioning pro today.