Every year when the temperature starts to drop, people kick on their furnaces in order to warm up their homes or business. When this happens, people sometimes complain about a burning smell coming from their furnace. Naturally, people worry that a burning smell can mean a fire. However, this is not always the case and the smell could be completely harmless and normal, even expected. Here, Fritts Heating & Air discusses the furnace smell and possible explanations for those smells.
Why Does The Furnace Smell?
Item Has Fallen Into Furnace
There are a number of reasons why your furnace may start to smell like burning plastic. In most cases, it is because something has fallen into the heating unit and needs to be removed or replaced with the appropriate part.
- Turn off the power at your home’s electrical panel before investigating.
- Look inside the furnace’s air filter and see if you can find anything that looks like plastic. If found, remove it.
- If nothing is found, look for problems in the heater itself, such as dirt build-up around wiring or coils.
- If you find a plastic item in the air filter, remove it until the smell goes away.
Old Electrical Items
In some cases, a burning smell is caused by old or frayed electrical items. If you notice that the odor only appears when your furnace turns on or off and not at any other time, this might be what’s causing it. These things are more common when a unit is ten years or older. Over time, wire insulation becomes brittle and can wear away to expose bare electrical wires that short against each other. This could cause an odor while the power goes on and off. If you experience this issue, contact a professional to look into the problem and get it fixed ASAP.
If you smell burning filters, then the current air filter is clogged and needs to be replaced. This might happen because of oversaturation in the furnace with air or dust particles. You should also check that there isn’t a leak somewhere on the system. If you suspect a leak, call Fritts Heating & Air immediately to inspect your system.
Other Problems That Make Your Furnace Smell
Apart from the plastic burning smell, the following are some other issues that your AC might run into:
When you turn on your furnace, if you start hearing odd noises, then you most likely have an issue with it. The most common noise is a fan running loudly and more frequently than usual. This typically indicates that the motor in the system isn’t working properly or has gone bad. If so, contact Fritts for a maintenance call to come out and assess and fix your problem.
Dust In the Air
Dust in the air is another reason why you would have a bad smell. Your furnace can suck up particles of dirt, hair, and other debris. If you notice this happening, it’s a good idea to clean more often, especially around vents and make sure there is nothing going into the vents. Additionally, make sure you have a clean filter and replace it every few months or as needed for heavy use.
If your furnace is cycling on and off too frequently, this could be the source of that burning plastic smell. A thermostat might not be set high enough, or it may need to be reset for proper operation.
One of the first indicators that something is going wrong with your furnace is the smell of gas. You should never ignore this, as it could mean there’s an issue in the venting system which needs to be addressed immediately by a professional technician. If you can detect anything smelling like natural gas, call a professional and have them come check it out ASAP.
Pilot Light Is Yellow
The color of a pilot light is usually very bright orange, but if the light has turned to yellow, it needs repair. A red or blue-colored flame indicates that there’s an issue with your heater and should be dealt with immediately because it can result in carbon monoxide poisoning. If you are experiencing strange smells coming from your heater, it’s best to call Fritts as soon as possible.
Weak Air Flow
If the air is not moving through your new furnace, it will start to smell like burning plastic. This can be due to a low setting on your thermostat or inadequate ventilation in the area where you have installed the unit. Normally this problem goes away after turning up the temperature and ventilating more around the system. If that doesn’t work, there may be some kind of obstruction in the vent that is causing this issue.
Need HVAC Maintenance? Call Us Today!
Fritts Heat & Air is a reliable Heating & Air service and HVAC contractor with over 20 years of experience. We provide Atlanta and North Georgia with expert heating and air conditioning services. If you need HVAC services in Atlanta, GA and throughout North Georgia, you can rely on us for your HVAC repairs and installation for residential and commercial properties. Since our inception, our philosophy is to provide our customers with quality and affordable HVAC services through professionalism and honesty.
Need HVAC service, AC repair, or a smart thermostat installed? You can rely on Fritts. We provide heating and cooling services for air conditioning repair, commercial HVAC, furnace repair, smart thermostat installation, HVAC repair and installation, and more.