We have all turned on our heater after a long summer and are instantly bombarded with that smell that makes us think our house is burning. Although a little, dusty odor is to be expected, prolonged smells can be the sign of a more serious problem. Consider these causes of a burning smell.
The most common smell is old dust that has been sitting for a long period of time. Dust tends to accumulate and is released through the vents when the heater is finally turned on. The smell is completely normal and will eventually pass, but if it doesn’t after a few minutes, it could be something else.
Clogged Air Filter
Another common cause of a burning smell is a clogged air filter. Air filters should be replaced roughly once a month to ensure you’re not breathing in old pollen, dirt or dust. They also capture loose insulation bits that can pose a fire risk if pulled into your system.
Mold or Mildew
Although changing the air filter often gets rid of bacteria sources, there may still be lingering bacterial growth in the ducts. This can cause a musty, burning smell that could be potentially harmful and often requires professional removal. A technician from a heater company will be able to sanitize the ducts with special equipment.
Believe it or not, foreign objects can get into your HVAC system and cause a burning smell. If your home smells like burning rubber, you’ll need to turn off your system immediately and try and locate any objects. An object that is not supposed to be in your heating system can pose a serious risk – dangerous fumes may be blown out or a fire may start. If no foreign objects are found, it’s likely that there is a more serious problem such as an electrical failure.
Burning Electrical Wires
Any electrical smells can be very serious and may require a heater repair. Common electrical problems include frayed wiring and an overheated blower motor. The heater normally will shut off when it is overheating, but a malfunction may cause it to keep running. Electrical issues are very dangerous to diagnose and should be looked at by a professional immediately.
Some issues can be fixed by yourself, but it’s best to call a technician in case there is a serious underlying problem. For heater or AC repair, call the experts at Mendez Heating and AC.