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Reasons Why Your Furnace Smells Like Burning Plastic

Odors from your furnace are typically a sign of system troubles. If your furnace smells like burning plastic, you could have a serious issue on your hands. A+ Heating & Cooling – Electrical explains why a furnace is emitting a burning plastic smell and what you should do if you detect this odor in your Ocean Isle Beach area home.

Causes of Furnace Burning Smells

Furnace problems can produce a range of burning smells. If your furnace smells like burning plastic, there are a few different issues that may be to blame. Below, you’ll find what system malfunctions and problems can produce these scents and what should be done to correct these issues.

1. Furnace Smells Like Burning Plastic Due to Foreign Object

If you notice a burning smell when your furnace runs, it is commonly a sign that some sort of foreign object has gotten into the ducts. The plastic object could be just about anything from around your home, from a small toy to a bottle cap. Whatever it may be, it produces an odor as it makes contact with the hot air circulating through your system, pushing the odor through your vents so your furnace smells like burning plastic.

Turn off your furnace and remove vent covers so you can inspect down into your supply duct runs. Oftentimes, the object is just something that has accidentally been dropped or swept into one of the air vents’ openings and you can reach and remove it yourself. If the object is too deep within the duct to grasp, you may be able to reach it using a pair of tongs or another household tool. Anytime the plastic object is too deep for you to safely access, don’t keep trying to get it out. The tools or items you use could cause damage to your ducts. If you can’t find the source of the burning smell in your duct openings at all, call an HVAC technician. They can inspect the ducts, and perform a thorough air duct cleaning to locate the item, and safely extract it for you.

2. Electrical Issues Produce Burning Smells

An electrical burning smell can also come from your furnace. When electrical components in the system don’t operate correctly, protective insulation on wiring can melt or burn. This problem can make it seem as though your furnace smells like burning plastic or burning rubber. 

If no foreign object was located and removed, an electrical issue is likely to be the reason why your furnace smells like burning plastic. When you notice this odor, turn off your furnace. Do not use it again until it has been inspected and repaired by a professional if necessary. Contact your HVAC contractor to request service right away.

3. System Overheating Creates Burning Plastic Odor

If your heating equipment starts to overheat, this issue can cause a burning dust smell to come from your furnace. It’s possible that the blower motor is producing this smell as a result of overheating, which can be caused by debris buildup on the motor, an overheated blower motor needs to be replaced for your furnace to work properly. Another cause for the heater smell could be a clogged air filter which is preventing airflow through your system. If your heating system overheats, heating cycles may also shut down prematurely along with the burning odor you experience.

You can troubleshoot a dirty air filter to correct this cause of overheating. Simply check the air filter and replace it with a new one if it is dirty.  It’s important to have these dust and dirt particles removed from your system on a regular basis. To prevent future odors from coming from your HVAC system in the future, be sure to change your air filter every 90 days. Too much dust can cause a burning smell coming from your furnace. It’s always a good idea to keep the area around your furnace clean to keep debris away from your system. 

 It may be difficult to access the blower motor for cleaning on your own, as removing the entire assembly may be necessary. Have your system looked at by an HVAC professional to check the motor and clean it if debris buildup is causing overheating, or replace the entire motor if it is bad.

Furnace Repairs in Ocean Isle Beach

Anytime your furnace smells like burning plastic, don’t ignore this problematic symptom. Troubleshoot your system for foreign objects and call an HVAC professional if you suspect other issues are responsible for the odor. A+ Heating & Cooling – Electrical offers fast, reliable furnace repairs for all makes and models in Ocean Isle Beach, NC. Contact us today to schedule a furnace repair service. 

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