If you smell burning in your home this winter, it may be coming from your heater. For homeowners who don’t need to run their HVAC system year-round, turning on your heater for the first time may cause an odd burning smell.
There are many reasons you are experiencing a burning smell from your heater, and not all are dangerous. Some of these problems can be fixed right at home, but it’s important to know what is causing the smell in the first place. Champion AC & Plumbing wants to share four reasons why your heater may smell like it’s burning.
1. Dust on your Furnace
If you’re running your heater for the first time in a while, it may be dusty. Dust can build up on the furnace and burn when the heater rises in temperature. This type of burning smell often smells like burning plastic.
Inspect your unit to see if there is any dust build-up. If you have a considerable amount of build-up, try running your unit for about 10 minutes to see if the smell will go away on its own. If the smell doesn’t go away or if it starts to smell worse, turn off your unit and call for maintenance.
2. Dirty Furnace Filter or Air Vents
Not only can dust build up on the surface of your furnace, but it can build up within the furnace as well. Dust can stick to your air filters and contain hot air in them. This trapped hot air could result in mold or mildew growth in your ductwork. If left untreated, it could spread throughout your air vents. This could create an odd, musty smell from your HVAC system.
If you think you are experiencing this problem, try replacing or cleaning your air filter. After turning the system off and replacing the air filter, try running the system again. If the smell continues, call for HVAC repair.
3. Debris Trapped in Your Heating System
This may be the source of your smell if you think it’s coming from a specific room in your home. Certain debris can get trapped in your heating system and can cause an odd smell from the vent it’s in. Locate where the smell is coming from and check inside the vent. You may find an object that fell or built up in your ductwork like:
- Soot or dust
- Black mold
- A toy or small item
- Heating system parts (insulation chunks, gears, wiring)
If it’s something you can safely retrieve like a small item, carefully remove it and see if the burning smell lingers. If the smell lingers, travels to a different room, or you can’t safely remove the object, contact your local services for assistance.
4. Damaged Electrical Wiring
If you smell an electrical burn, turn off your system and call for professional furnace repair immediately. This may be a serious electrical problem that could result in hazardous damage to your home.
Over time, parts can wear out and deteriorate if they have not been properly maintained in a while. If you haven’t used your unit for some time, chances are you also haven’t sought repairs or maintenance on your unit either. Before you run your heater for the winter, call your local services to ensure that all the parts in your system are functioning as they should.
How Your Local Austin Heating Company Can Help
The most effective way to keep your system safe from any problems is by scheduling regular maintenance. If you’re looking for professional heater repair or advice for any burning smells from your unit, Champion AC & Plumbing can inspect your unit for damages. Contact us through our website to set up a consultation today!