What Causes the Burning Smell When You Turn on Your Heater?

December 20, 2021
Furnace Repair in Nacogdoches, TX

Heaters generate different smells when operating, most of which dissipate after a few hours of running the unit. However, in some instances, your heating system may generate nasty odors all the time, polluting the indoor air. One such offensive smell is a burning smell, which occurs when the heater has an issue or has accumulated large amounts of dust. The odor often disappears after a few hours, especially if your heater has no underlying problem. The leading causes of burning smell include, but are not limited to, the ones listed below.

Burning Dust Odors

When your household heater has a burning dust-like odor, it indicates a dust clog. The odor occurs because you haven’t turned it on for some time and dust has built up in the system. You’re smelling the burning dust-like odor because the dust is being burned. However, that may not entirely be the reason your heating system is generating a foul smell. It could be because of an underlying problem in the heater, which requires troubleshooting by a qualified HVAC technician.

Electrical Burning Smell

If the burning smell generated by your household heater has hints of burning electrical wires, it’s an indication your heater might be having an underlying problem. Such odors are often associated with overheating of the blower motor. Logically, the heating system is designed to shut off when the blower motor overheats. However, if the heater has a damaged component that is causing the blower motor to overwork and overheat, it won’t go off but might produce unfavorable smells.

In other instances, your heater may generate a burning electrical smell because of faulty or frayed electrical wiring. Likewise, you might experience an odor similar to burning wires when the heater exchanger is cracked. Regardless of the cause of the odor, you should contact a qualified heating system repair technician immediately.

Burning Plastic Smell

Another familiar odor that your heater may generate when something inside is burning is the one that smells like plastic is being burned. The most popular reason a heater will generate this odor type is because of burning plastic inside the heater. Most plastics generate fumes when burned, which could have serious health problems if inhaled.

After you discover that your heater has this smell, you should shut it off instantly. Then, try locating the plastic material that could be the cause of this issue. If you can’t find the material, call a professional heating specialist. Heating and cooling technicians know how to disassemble the heating system to locate and remove the culprit.

Possible Solutions to Burning Smells From Heating Systems

Burning smells from heating systems occur unexpectedly and could inconvenience you in many ways. However, if you know what causes each type of burning smell, you’ll be equipped to manage any related emergency. The leading cause of the burning smell is the clogging of the air filters by debris and dust. Cleaning the air filters can help remove the burning smell on your heater. If cleaning your air filters doesn’t solve the problem, you might want to get them replaced by a qualified heating and cooling specialist.

Dust-burning smells often occur when dust accumulates on heating system components such as heat exchangers and burners. When burned away, the dust accumulated on these components creates a foul smell. Mostly, this type of problem will fade away after a few minutes. The solution to burning smells caused by wiring issues is typically demanding to deal with and should be left to a licensed and skilled technician.

Contact Our Experienced Technicians

If your household heating system in Nacogdoches or other areas in East Texas generates unfamiliar burning odors, you should contact Nacogdoches Sheet Metal, Plumbing & Air Conditioning, LTD. for high-quality and affordable heating repair and replacement services. We are a trusted heating and cooling industry leader working with NATE-certified technicians and known for using market-leading heater replacement parts and products.

As a Disabled Veterans Business Alliance member, we are committed to providing a range of high-quality heating-related services, including emergency repair and personalized heating system repair services. Our technicians professionally diagnose and troubleshoot the underlying problem. We offer reasonable quotes and high-quality replacement parts to ensure that our customers’ heating systems perform efficiently and last longer.

Besides heating services, we also provide comprehensive cooling and plumbing services. Contact us if you need help with heating tune-ups or repairs.