What Is That Burning Smell Coming From My A/C?

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As temperatures continue to cool in Jacksonville and homeowners kick on the heat for the first time since last winter, it’s common to notice a burning smell coming from the vents. This can be very unsettling, but luckily the smell (usually) only lasts for a short period of time.

The reason for this short-term burning smell is because the heater is burning off layers of dust and dirt that have accumulated over the warmer months. There are instances, however, that suggests there is more going on and the system should be inspected by a professional.

The burning smell is persistent

The good news is that if the burning smell only lasts for the first day or two after turning on your heater, this is normal and the smell should go away on its own.

However, if the smokey smell doesn’t go away after a few cycles or the smell only occurs when the heat is turned on, it could indicate the motor is overheating and needs to be inspected.

Smoke is coming from the vents

If smoke is coming from the vents, turn off the heater immediately. This is an indicator of severely overheated components within the unit or components that are on fire. Call a professional for an emergency inspection before powering the unit back on.

The burning smells like plastic, rubber, or electrical

When your heater is burning off dust and dirt, it will smell musty. If you experience a smell similar to burning plastic, rubber, or a burning electrical smell, this is not normal and will require professional help.

Burning plastic or rubber smells indicate there is a piece within the unit that is melting. This could be anything from a foreign object such as a piece of glass, or a structural component of the unit such as plastic that encases wiring, for example.

Burning electrical smells usually smell like burnt metal. This could be caused by an overheated motor or a failing capacitor that if left untreated, can result in a total system failure or a potentially dangerous fire.

If you experience a lingering smokey smell or a burning smell that suggests your heating and air conditioning system is in distress, contact a licensed professional to inspect the unit. The technicians at A/C Designs are professionally trained to accurately diagnose any HVAC-related issues you may be experiencing so you can live more comfortably. Book an appointment today at 904-829-8898 or by filling out this form.

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