COVID-19 ADVISORY: Shepherd’s Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning is BUSINESS as USUAL.Read More

Heater Smells Like Burning

Heater smells like burning? Here’s what to do.

If you’ve been snuggling up to your heater this winter and gotten a whiff of something that smells like burning, don’t panic! The fire won’t be coming out to join you on the couch. We’re here to help – let’s tackle what could be causing that smell, what actions to take, and how to prevent it in the future… because we all know nothing spoils an otherwise delightful evening in quite like an unidentifiable source of smoke.

1. What to do if you smell something burning when your heater is on

The first thing to do is always turn the heater off. It’s best to go directly to the source and shut it down until you can properly assess what might be causing the smell. If it’s a gas-powered heater, immediately check for any leaks in your furnace or heating system as well.

2. How to determine whether the smell is coming from the heater or another appliance

If you’ve checked all of the immediate appliances and haven’t found anything, it’s time to do a bit of detective work. Check all of the other nearby appliances that may be operating at the same time as your heater. Sometimes an old appliance can start emitting strange odors when run in conjunction with something new.

3. Common causes of a burning smell from the heater

Once you’ve ruled out any other appliances, it’s time to investigate the heater itself. The most common culprits of a burning smell include dust and dirt buildup on the heating coils, frayed electrical wiring or loose connection, or even an overheating motor.

  • Dust on the furnace coils causes the dust to overheat, creating an acrid smoke that can often be smelled upon entering a room.
  • Frayed or loose wires can also cause arcing, which is when electricity jumps from one wire to another and creates sparks. This spark will usually create a burning smell in addition to being potentially dangerous.
  • Debris trapped in the system can also cause the motor to overheat and produce a burning smell.
  • Dirty filters or air vents can cause the air to be restricted and create extra strain on the motor, resulting in an overheating smell.
  • Damaged wiring or blower motors can also cause the smell of burning rubber or plastic.
  • Overheated motor bearings can create a smell that is like burning oil or a musty, damp smell.

4. What to do after determining the source of the smell

Once you’ve identified the source of the smell, it’s time to take action! If you’re comfortable doing repairs yourself, make sure to shut off power to the unit before attempting any repairs and be sure to wear proper safety equipment. If you’re not comfortable performing repairs, it’s best to contact a qualified technician for service.

5. How to prevent the burning smell from happening again in the future

The best way to prevent the burning smell from coming back is to keep up with regular maintenance for your heating system. Change the filters regularly, vacuum around and inside of the heater, and have a technician check out your unit at least once a year. This will make sure all of the parts are working properly, reducing the chance of any unexpected odors in the future!

6. What to do if you can’t fix the problem yourself

If you’ve determined the source of your burning smell and can’t fix it yourself, it’s important to contact an HVAC technician right away. They will be able to properly assess and repair the issue quickly and safely.

7. Tips for keeping your home warm and comfortable this winter

Finally, keeping your home warm and comfortable the right way will ensure no additional strain on your furnace. Make sure to seal any drafts in windows and doors, invest in a programmable thermostat, and use extra blankets or quilts on cold nights. These simple steps will help you stay cozy throughout the chilly months!

Related Reading: Gas Furnace Installation: Do’s, Don’ts and Top Things to Remember

For maintenance, repairs, or replacement units, Shepherd’s is a company that you can trust. Our team has over sixty years of combined experience, so we make sure that you’re in the right hands. If you have furnace issues that you need fixed as soon as possible, call us at (650) 263-7613 today!

 Shepherd's Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning © 2023 All Rights Reserved. Website Design by the SEO Company Leads Ngin

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?