Why Does My Heater Smell Like It’s Burning?

Ever turn on your heating or cooling system only to be met by strange burning, musty, or other bad smells? Usually, the smell is nothing to be alarmed about, but in some instances, you may need to call for emergency heating and cooling repair. Keep reading to learn from Gainesville’s licensed heating, cooling and refrigeration technicians why the smells are happening, and how regular preventive AC maintenance can be the cure.

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Burning Smell Coming From Furnace or Heater

If the smell coming from your heater, furnace, or heat pump smells like burning plastic or burning rubber, you may have an electrical problem. Poor electrical connections can cause the coating on wires to melt, emitting a burning smell and potentially leading to equipment damage or worse: an electrical fire. If this is the kind of odor you’re experiencing, shut your system off completely and call an electrician.

If you haven’t used your heating system in a while, you may experience a burning smell when you first turn it on. The burning smell occurs when dust piles up in your system and your heater has to burn it off. The smell of burning dust should dissipate after a few minutes.

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Burning Smells Coming From Your HVAC System

When a bad smell starts coming out of your heater or air conditioner, it can feel like a helpless and unavoidable situation. No matter where you attempt to retreat, the smell follows you through air ducts and vents. There are several things that can cause your air conditioner to emit a smell, and different smells point to different issues. So, to rid your home of the stench, you must first decide what exactly your AC smells like. Here are a few unpleasant aromas and what they mean for your air conditioning system.

Musty and Mildew Smell From Heating and Cooling

If your AC smells like a high school boy’s locker room or an old tool shed that hasn’t seen the light of day in decades, it’s likely a sign of excess moisture in your home. The smell you’re experiencing is the result of bacteria and mildew growing and thriving in your home’s moist air. You may simply have an indoor humidity problem, which can be solved with a nifty dehumidifier.

If you experience a gross, musty smell during the winter, especially at the beginning of the season when you first begin using your heating system, you may have slightly a different problem on your hands. Sometimes, after your heater sits idle for a while, cranking it back up sends it into defrost mode, creating a damp environment. This, too, will allow potentially harmful microorganisms to inhabit your home, not only creating a bad smell but also diminishing your indoor air quality. The best way to prevent this kind of smell in your home is by getting preventive maintenance for your AC before each heating and cooling season.

Putrid and Sour Smell From Air Conditioner

If your AC is stinking up your entire house with a rotten, sour, rancid smell, you might have a pest problem on your hands. If a critter crawled up into your air ducts and unfortunately didn’t make it out in time, it could be the smell of decay that is drifting through your home. You’ll want to call a pest control company to take care of things before the stench becomes unbearable.

Regular AC Maintenance Prevents AC Burning Smell

No matter what type of smell your heater, heat pump, furnace or air conditioner may emit, the best way to keep your home’s air fresh and clean all year long is with regular preventive maintenance from A+ Air Conditioning & Refrigeration. In addition to saving your nose from a smelly house, HVAC maintenance helps to boost your system’s efficiency, lowering your energy bills and more. Contact us today and ask us about our specials!