Notice a strange odor coming from your heater lately? It could be nothing, or you could have a major electrical issue with your heater. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on the different smells so you’ll know if you have a serious problem or not.
Here at Champion AC, we are experts when it comes to heaters. Here are some reasons why your heater might be giving off a strange smell.
After heaters have been turned off for a long period, they collect dust and lint. This dust can collect on the heat exchanger and air ducts – so when the furnace finally turns on, the dust burns off and releases an odor. It’s normal when you turn on your heater for the first time in the fall. This is sometimes referred to as ‘dirty sokes syndrome’. Usually, the smell will go away in about a day.
In the case that it doesn’t, check your air filters because they might need to be changed. You can also ensure you won’t encounter the burning smell again by buying high-quality air filters. Mildew, mold and bacteria need dust and other substances to thrive, but removing these from the air before they get into your coils is one of the key ways to prevent the burning smell.
If you notice an odor that smells similar to burning plastic or electrical parts, it may be something simple or more serious. The cause of this could be something as minor as a foreign object that starts to smell once it gets heated or even a spill that went unnoticed.
This smell could also be something more serious, such as a cracked heat exchanger or an overheated furnace motor. You can inspect the heater first to try and locate the problem yourself, but unless you are an experienced electrician, it’s best to call a technician to fix the problem.
If you have a gas furnace and notice a rotten smell, you may have a natural gas leak. Natural gas is odorless, so a chemical is added to give the gas a stench to make it detectable. Natural gas is very toxic and can even be fatal if you are exposed to it for too long.
If you think you have a gas leak, immediately shut off your heater, evacuate your family and call your gas company for assistance.
Overheated or Burned Electrical Component
If you smell something akin to fish, you might have a burned electrical component. Most people think that an animal has died somewhere in the home’s crawlspace. However, it’s more likely that an electrical part of your heater is overheated. This can be a dangerous issue. It’s recommended that you turn off your heater until you can have an HVAC specialist further inspect the heater.
If you need help with your heater, then contact Champion AC today. Whether you need a heater tune-up, a furnace installed, or an electrical repair, we are ready to help you with all of your electrical and air conditioning needs!