Burning Smell Coming from Your Heater: Why Is It Happening?

Man inspecting HVAC vent

In the event that you start noticing a burning smell emitting from your home’s heating system, you may immediately panic. Likewise, you may find yourself calling the fire department or your servicing company afterward. Phoning your heater repair company should always be your first course of action. However, a slight burning smell does not always mean that disaster is underway. In fact, if your heater remains dormant for several months at a time, a burning smell is usually just a harmless result of your system coming back to life. 

There are several other causes that can lead to a burning smell coming from your heater. The good news is that most of these are completely normal and harmless. The next time you notice a burning smell while the heat is on, do not panic, as Service Patriots’ team of expert technicians are extensively trained in administering heater system repairs. We have listed some common burning smells, as well as critical signs to look out for! Hopefully, this article will help you determine the type of smell and its potential cause. 

Debris Trapped in Air Filter

Due to the constant suction of air in your home’s HVAC system, it does not take very long at all before dust and debris build up within the air filter. This is a completely normal part of the HVAC system’s day-to-day functioning. However, too much dust and debris can lead to an array of problems within the internal components of the system. Such issues include a burning smell. This is often the result of the debris heating and burning up when the heater is on. Fortunately, by proactively changing the filter every one to three months, homeowners can avoid such putrid burning smell.

Various Smells and Their Causes

After leaving a home’s HVAC system dormant for months at a time, a burning smell may emit when using the heating system again. As we previously mentioned, this is a completely normal occurrence that typically happens when the dust has settled within the system. However, this particular burning smell only lasts a few hours. Therefore, if the smell persists longer than a few hours, there may be a separate issue with your HVAC. Determine the type of smell that you are sensing to discover the cause of the burning smell.

A smell of burning plastic or rubber can indicate that there is an object somewhere within the vents or other internal components of the HVAC system. More often than not, a toy or some other foreign object mistakenly got into a vent, and, as the heater continues to produce hot air, the plastic or rubber materials begin to melt. In some cases, toxic fumes can waft indoors, in which case it is imperative to immediately shut off the system and remove the object.

Additionally, if you notice a musty odor coming from your heater, there is a likely possibility that mold and mildew have begun to grow within the vents that extend throughout your home. With routine servicing and sanitizing, you can avoid bacteria growth and the corresponding funky odor in your HVAC. 

Critical Signs to Look Out For

The smell of burning electrical wires can be a sign of a very dangerous problem. After all, this issue could even result in a fire if not quickly managed. This may go without saying, but in the event that you see or smell any smoke coming from your vents, contact your fire department and maintenance company immediately.

Service Patriots

Our company has over 20 years of experience in this industry. And we can assure you that we will conduct all installations and heater repair services with quality and care. That’s the level of excellence you get from our expert technicians.  If you are interested in learning more about our products and services, contact us by clicking here to call or using our online contact form.

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