Burning Smell When Turning on the Heat

3 Reasons Why Your AC is Emitting a Burning Smell

Once you’ve established no actual fire in your home but have narrowed it down to your HVAC system emitting a smell, you’re probably wondering why this is happening. While not uncommon, it can be extremely annoying to deal with. It could be telling you that it’s time to call in a Service Pro to assist. Let’s go through a quick list of what could be happening inside your unit that can be causing this smell.

Dust Burning Off When Heat Gets Turned On

While in Florida, we use our air conditioner daily but only use the heat for maybe a month or two out of the year. If you just turned on your heat and it smells like it’s burning, it’s just the dust burning off. When the heat strip is dormant for so long, it can collect dust. This is very common when turning on the heat for the first time and should only last a few minutes.

Clogged Air Filter Restricting Air Flow

You must change your air filter every 30 days. If the filter is not changed regularly, then your letting dust build up on your air handler coil. If air is restricted from build-up or a dirty filter, your system is overworking itself. This can cause some major components to start to overheat, and a burning smell will come from these components.

Burning Electrical Components Inside Air Handler

If the smell lasts longer than 12-15 minutes and has traces of rotten eggs or sulfur, you might have a hazardous electrical failure somewhere in your system. Electrical wiring has a plastic component surrounding it, so if the wiring is burning, then the odor will be more foul than usual. This is common in older units with worn electrical connections, defective breakers, or short circuits. Turn the unit off and call us to come out and diagnose the issue at hand immediately.

We hope this gives you peace of mind knowing what the issue may be. While maintenance and tune-ups can detect some of these issues early, it’s best to call the Service Pros when you are unsure. Don’t let a minor issue turn into a big one!

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