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Why Does My Heater Smell Like Burning?

burning smell coming from heater

Does your heater smell like burning plastic, rubber, or wires? If so, you’ll need to find the cause and fix it if necessary. A burning smell coming from your heater can be caused by damaged HVAC parts, electrical problems, or even foreign objects.

Does Your Heater Smell Like Burning? Troubleshoot the Problem

Some odors do require immediate intervention when you notice a heater smell like burning. We’ll help differentiate what these smells could mean so you know the right action to take.

Heater Smells Like Burning Plastic or Rubber

When a heater smells like burning rubber or plastic it’s an indicator for immediate intervention. While these fumes could be dangerous to inhale, they can also signify a problem that can damage your furnace if allowed to continue.

Possible causes when your heater smells like burning plastic or rubber:

  • Foreign object trapped in the heating system
  • Electrical fault burning the plastic coating on wires
  • Part malfunction, such as the capacitor or fan belt

If you can’t locate or safely remove a trapped object we suggest turning the heater off and calling a professional heating service. When your home heater smells like burning plastic, a heating expert should assess for electrical failure or any part malfunction.

heater smell like burning
Photo Credit: Global News

Heater Smells Like Burning Wires

The smell of burning wires from your heater is another odor that could be dangerous to inhale or signify a larger heating problem.

Possible causes when your heater smells like burning wires:

  • Overheated blower motor: Though your heating system automatically shuts off if it overheats, the heater can reach dangerous temperatures and cause a burning order if this protective measure malfunctions.
  • Burning electrical wires: The wires in your heating system may indeed be burning or frayed due to damage or defect.
  • Cracked heat exchanger: This heater component is what’s responsible for actually heating the air. If the various tubes or coils of the exchanger become cracked they can leak harmful gasses that emit a burning smell.

Since a clogged air filter can cause your blower motor to work harder and overheat, changing the filter may eliminate the smell. However, if your air filter isn’t clogged or changing it doesn’t lessen the odor, turn the heat off and call a professional service immediately.  A bad blower motor, burning wires, or a cracked heat exchanger are potentially dangerous situations that require rapid intervention.

Heater Smells Like Burning Dust

If your heater smells like burning dust, it could indeed be just that. If your heater hasn’t been used in a while, dust can accumulate on components such as the heat exchanger or burner. As this dust burns off, it creates an odor that passes through the air vents of your home.

In most cases, the smell of burning dust should disappear as the heater continues to operate. However, if the smell persists, a professional assessment may be in order.

While a heater smell like burning dust doesn’t always have a serious cause, other burning smells do require immediate action. At Dependable Heating and Air, safety is our first priority. A team member is available every hour of the day or night to respond to any heating need.

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