Burning Smell Coming From Heater Vents

My Heater Has a Burning Smell Coming From The Vents!

The burning smell coming from an electric or gas heating unit is distinguishable, but is it dangerous? It could be, depending on the cause. It could be something as simple as dust or a clogged air filter. It could also be an electrical issue that could cause a fire.

The heating system experts at Air & Plumbing Today in San Antonio will always advise you to be proactive when your heating system has a burning smell when it turns on. They recommend to turn the unit off until you can figure out the source of the smell. Read on for more information on how to resolve the burnt smell coming from your heating system.

Top Reasons Why Your Heater Has a Burning Smell Coming From The Vents

Here are the top reasons are known for causing the burning smell in a central heating and air unit. Most can be easily resolved with either some deep cleaning or calling a service tech like Air & Plumbing Today in San Antonio Texas.

Electrical Components Burned
If the smell is more like plastic then it could be that the electrical components are damaged.
Plastic is included in the wiring of your Heating System and the odor comes from the wiring burning. It could be worn out, have bad connections, a short circuit, or even loose screws. The problem could be hazardous and needs to be professionally inspected. Don’t use your unit until you get a local HVAC company like Air & Plumbing Today out to look at it.

Dust Inside your Heating System
This is the most common reason for this horrible burned odor emitting from your HVAC system. It is particularly noticeable in places like San Antonio TX because the heat is used less often. That allows dust to accumulate around heating elements.
You will know this is the problem if the smell comes around when you turn on your heater for the first time in a long while.

Dirty Air Filters Allowing Dust and Debris Into Your Heating System
Dirty air filters are another issue San Antonio Texas residents deal with because the beautiful weather means most don’t think about changing air filters. However, a clogged air filter will cause that burning smell when you turn on the heater. In South Texas, air filters can become easily clogged with dust, animal dander, as well as dirt and other particles, so it’s best to change them often.
The other problem is that it’s forcing your HVAC to work harder, which can cause other repair issues as well as raise your CPS electric bill. A clogged air filter can also become a fire hazard. Why? If your heating system heats up and there is no air flow to carry the heat out of your system, it could overheat. Thankfully it’s easy to change out the filters, and replacing them in your HVAC should be a routine maintenance task you do at least six times a year, depending on how much you use your HVAC and the type of filters you use. The hard part is actually remembering to change your heating system filters.

Your Heating System Burner is Blown
The blower on your heating system is meant to keep your furnace’s temperature at a normal level and pump out cool air when you are using the heater. They should last 10-15 years but they can burn out depending on the conditions around your home.

Faulty HVAC Capacitor On Your Inside Blower Motor Unit
The capacitor helps the motor run and a faulty one can cause the motor to overheat. This creates a burning plastic or rubber smell. There is no set reason why capacitors go bad. It could be due to a power surge, overheated wiring, or normal wear and tear. It just happens randomly.
You may not use your HVAC much with the mild Texas temperatures but your capacitor can still go bad even without a lot of use.
Inside Heat Unit Fan Motor Overheating
This is a fairly common occurrence as the fan on the AC works VERY hard during the summer. It could overheat and give off that burning smell. The root problem is worn-out fan bearings. Fortunately, bearings might be able to be serviced instead of replaced if you call a professional AC & Heating company like Air & Plumbing Today.

On Commercial Heating Units, Belt-Drive Motor Overheating
Not all commercial HVAC systems have a direct-drive blower. Some have a belt-drive blower that uses a rubber belt. The belt can wear out and a distinct rubber smell comes directly from the belt. Belts wear out over time, especially if you use your HVAC a good bit. Summer use could have worn the belt out and switching to heat adds to the rubber smell. It doesn’t hurt to have a professional service technician check out the belt if they are already coming out to look at the unit anyway. Replacing the belt is an easy and affordable fix to the smell problem. Air & Plumbing Today specialized in commercial packaged HVAC units and has the knowledge to service them.

Other types of HVAC Smells
You may notice different odors in your home than you did years ago in other homes. That’s because homes are built to be more airtight now and often lack great ventilation. The unit then doesn’t have enough fresh air and this is the main cause for stinky HVAC odors.
There is another type of HVAC smell indicating a different challenge. In the fall weather, you’ll be using your AC and your heater on a daily basis. If your AC comes on and you have a dirty sock smell coming from the vents, you have another issue. The smell of dirty socks means there is some type of organic material, like mildew, mold, or slimy algae growing in your air conditioning unit and the unit isn’t heated to a temperature to kill the growth.
Our customers who live in the San Antonio area, mainly the ones with heat pumps, will experience this problem because of the moisture and reduced use. The unit needs to be cleaned out by a professional with specific cleaning solutions meant for this condition and should be on a schedule for an annual cleaning to prevent the problem from recurring. Joining Air & Plumbing Today’s “No Problema Plan” takes care of this challenge as it includes a system cleaning.

Set Up a Maintenance Program With Air & Plumbing Today Called The “No Problema Plan”
Even though you may not use your HVAC unit as much in San Antonio during the winter, it is a good idea to have your unit checked at least twice a year. Having a good, reliable HVAC service to check out your system annually also means you can call them should something go wrong. They will be able to fix it quickly because they understand your system since they have maintained it. This will ensure that all parts are functioning correctly and that nothing is presenting a fire hazard. Call Air & Plumbing Today at 210-519-5959 and schedule your service.

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*Estimates by text are indeed estimates and not final quotes. FOR AC TEXT ESTIMATES: Our experts will assess whether additional work may be required for new AC installation such as ducting, wiring, etc. however these items will be clearly quoted in advance for your approval before installion begins.  Our install experts can also suggest and quote indoor air quality services, anti-viral air scrubbers, air purification and filtration systems, ductwork & blown-in insulation as well. FOR PLUMBING TEXT ESTIMATES: Our expert plumbers will assess whether additional work may be required for new plumbing installations such as code compliance items, piping, venting, etc. however these items will be clearly quoted in advance for your approval before installion begins.  Call our office for more details and to ask detailed questions. Our goal is to make sure we are 100% transparent with our estimates and you're 100% satisfied with our work when we're done!