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Burning Smell from Heater: What’s Happening and What To Do

Your heater has been working properly until recently it started releasing some burning whiff and you are wondering what the problem probably is.

During winter, the temperature drops, and you’ll be relying on your heater to keep you  warm. While enjoying the warmth it provides, it can begin to bring out this burning smell that can get any owner worried. This smell could be normal or could also be a potential threat to your .

We have put together some things to help you understand this smell and the necessary steps to take.

Let’s get heated 

7 Reasons Why Heater Smells Like It’s Burning  

There are several reasons why your heater may produce this disturbing whiff. Let’s show you some of them. 

1.  Dust from the furnace

You may perceive a burning smell when you first turn on your heater after a long while and it is mostly caused by a lump of dust piled on your furnace. During the period when you don’t use your heater, it collects dust. So when you turn it on the dust begins to burn off causing it to emit a burning plastic smell in your house.

2.  Debris in your heating system 

During the period your heater wasn’t in use, you cleaned your house and your children also played around, an object may fall into your Heating system accidentally. As a result of this, your heating system will begin to emit an unpleasant smell.

3. Electrical fault

A burning smell coming from your heating system can mean there is an electrical fault in your heater. This smell is caused by damaged wire as a result of overuse. If you have a damaged wire it can cause a burnt smell to emit from your heating system which can result in overheating of the heater.

As your heating system gets older, the blower motor might seize up because it is worn out. As a result of this, your heating system will draw extra electricity to continue to function, and this extra voltage will lead to a build-up of heat. The wire begins to melt due to overheating which could cause a spark or emit an odor.

4. Broken exchanger

If you begin to notice a chemical smell coming from your heater, you shouldn’t ignore it. Especially if the smell is similar to a strong pickle-like odor. It can be that your furnace’s heat exchanger is broken. If your heat exchanger is broken it can cause a fire outbreak and can also release carbon monoxide which is odorless and colorless.

5. Mildew trapped on the furnace filter

When you turn on your heater for the first time in winter, you may perceive a musty smell that is a result of mildew trapped on the humidifier pad. After a while, the mildew will burn off and the smell will go away and your heater will begin to function normally.

6.  Natural gas leak

If a rotten egg smell is coming from your heating system. This smell makes you feel dizzy, causes irregular breathing, and makes you feel tired. This may be a result of a natural gas leak. If this is the case do not try to find the source of the leak. you should immediately leave your house and call a professional.

7.  Block exhaust vent 

If a smoke smell is coming from your heater, immediately turn it off and open your windows. This is a result of blockage of the exhaust vent preventing the combustion from going out. Since it can go out, it is forced out through another part and it begins to emit a smoke smell. If the smell is faint then turn off your heater and open your windows. But if the smell is strong then contact a professional.

What Should You Do When a Burning Smell is Coming from Your Heater 

1. Dusty smell

If you haven’t used your heater for a few months, you should expect this. If the whiff fades after a few minutes of heating, then this might just be the issue. You are safe and not in need of the .

2. Debris smell

If the whiff isn’t off after a few minutes, then perform a check on the vent of each room. Locate where the whiff is strongest. When you notice this, open the vent, check for any foreign object, and hand-pick it away. If it persists, please call the technicians

3. Mildew smell

The mildew should naturally burn off after the heater functions for a few minutes. If it doesn’t, remove the and the humidifier pad and wash with water and vinegar. This should do. If it still produces a whiff afterward, then reach out to an HVAC technician.

If the smell persists after all these checks, then switch off your unit and call the technicians. 

Can You Avoid a Burning Smell From Your Heater?

You can prevent your heater from emitting a burning smell by doing regular maintenance. Maintenance for your heating system should be done at least once or twice a year and it should be done by an expert. When a professional comes for regular maintenance, they would be able to spot areas of concern and take care of them before any further damage and prevent it from emitting a smell.

In addition to regular maintenance by a professional, you should add personal routine maintenance of changing your filters every three months. Regular check-up is the best thing you can do to stop the burning smell from your heater.

When You Need Help with Smells from Your Heater Call an HVAC Professional 

The unusual smells coming from your heater suggest a lot of different types of problems — some of these problems may require a professional at Precision Air Solutions to help you fix them. We are the best in Benicia. We deliver the highest quality service: heating and maintenance, installations, and sales.

We provide the best customer service possible by providing free estimates, emergency after-hour services, and planned maintenance agreements. Reach out to us.

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