Oh, the joys of winter. When you’re stuck inside all day escaping the cold, it’s important that you have a functioning furnace to keep your home toasty. The last thing you want to smell when you’re warming up on the couch after a long day at work is a burning smell from your heater.
Here at HVAC Precision Experts, we know that this smell is not always a cause for concern. That being said, burning smells and fire hazards are not things that you should mess around with. We’re here to help you pinpoint what might be causing the burning smell and help you decide when to contact the experts. Here are some common causes you may experience with your heating system:
Your Heater Is Dusty
The most common cause of burning smells from a heater is dust. In the warmer months of the year, heating systems sit around because they aren’t needed. However, this allows dust and small debris to build up within the ducts and vents. When the heater is turned on again in the winter, the dust burns off because of the high heat.
This is not a cause for concern, so if your heater smells burnt after you first turn it on for the season, don’t be alarmed. However, if the burning smell persists or gets stronger, turn off your heating system and contact HVAC Precision Experts.
Your Air Filters Are Old
Routinely replacing your furnace’s air filters is part of good HVAC maintenance. However, it’s easy to let one too many months slip by before replacing your filters. If your heater smells like it’s burning, it could be because you need to replace your air filters. Old filters are often caked with debris and dust which burn in the high heat.
To replace your air filters, use your heating system’s manual to find where your furnace’s air filter is located as well as what size filter you will need to purchase. Then remove the existing air filter from the frame, noting which direction your home’s air flows. This information should be printed on the old filter. Finally, place the new filter into the frame, ensuring that the airflow indicator is pointed in the same direction as the old one.
After you replace the air filter, the burnt smell should go away. If it doesn’t, contact an HVAC professional to check on your system.
Something Is Stuck In Your Heater
Another cause of burning smells coming from a heater may be due to the presence of plastic or rubber objects in the system. If it smells like burning plastic or rubber and the smell is strong in one specific room, it may be because an object such as a toy or a piece of your HVAC unit is stuck in the air vent. Open the air vent in the room where the smell is the strongest, and look inside for any foreign objects.
If you locate an object that looks like it could be part of the HVAC unit, contact an HVAC professional to see if it needs to be replaced. If the burning smell persists and you can’t locate a plastic or rubber object in any of the vents, shut off your heating system immediately and contact HVAC Precision Experts. Continual exposure to burning plastic or rubber is toxic for humans.
There Is A Problem With The Electrical Wiring
The most dangerous cause of a burning smell from your heater is a problem with its electrical wiring. That’s because this puts your home at risk for an electrical fire. The smell of an electrical fire will be strong, unpleasant and very similar to the smell of burning plastic. If you think there’s a problem with your system’s electrical wiring, it’s important to call for help immediately.
If your heating system shuts off on its own, this is also a cause for concern. Many heating systems are made to shut off when overheating begins to prevent a fire from starting. If you smell a burning smell coming from your heater and the system shuts off, contact an HVAC expert to perform professional furnace repair.
Prevent Burning Smells From Your Heater
Burning smells aren’t pleasant, even if the cause isn’t dangerous. The best way to prevent your heater from smelling burnt is to keep it clean. Having a dirty furnace is preventable with routine furnace maintenance. HVAC Precision Experts is a Culpeper heating company that specializes in HVAC repair and maintenance. Call us today and schedule an appointment so we can help you get rid of the pesky burning smell coming from your heater.