When you turn on your heater to escape the cold temperatures of a San Antonio winter, you expect to feel cozy and comfortable. But have you ever turned on your heater only to have a burning smell fill the room? Residential heaters are designed to deliver clean air into your home, so you may be alarmed when you smell something abnormal wafting out of the vents. Odors from heating systems are common, and some indicate issues that require the attention of an expert technician from MD Air Conditioning & Heating, while others are just temporary nuisances. Here are the seven most common reasons why a heating system may emit a burning smell and what you should do in each situation.

1. Dust Accumulation

Dust is the most common reason homeowners in San Antonio smell a burning odor sifting through their heat vents. The distinctive odor is a sign your heating system hasn’t been used since last winter. The smell tells you the heating elements of the system is burning the dust particles, and the aroma should only last a few minutes. If that initial smell goes away, and you notice a new smell, there might be something else going on with the system.

2. Dirty Filters

Dust on the filters of your heating system can also cause an unusual odor when you first use the system this winter. Dirty air filters also cause other symptoms, such as a strange taste or eye irritation. You may also notice fine dust coming through the vents. The smell of dirty filters tends to last longer compared to dust accumulation on heating elements. You can remedy the problem by replacing your air filters. If air quality is a priority for you, consider upgrading to filters that capture small particles, such as bacteria, viruses, and mold.

3. Storing Items Near the Heater

The heat elements of your system, such as the burner, reach temperatures that are high enough to affect any objects around the heater. If you store items too close to the heater, you may notice a range of odors coming through your vents, such as the smell of burned plastic, rubber, cardboard, or paper. Remove any items from the area around the heating system, leaving a space of at least 2 to 3 feet.

4. Electrical Issue

Electrical burning has a distinct aroma that burns and irritates the inside of your nose. This may indicate a burned-out motor, broken wire, and many other problems that need the immediate attention of a professional. If you notice an electrical smell when you turn on your heater or any time during the winter, turn the system off right away, and contact MD Air Conditioning & Heating to have a technician come by to make the necessary repairs.

5. Mold

If you turn on your heating system for the first time this winter and notice a musty smell, chances are mold has grown inside the components, ducts, or filters. You can change the filters to see if that eliminates the odor. If that doesn’t help, you need the help of a technician. MD Air Conditioning & Heating offers duct cleaning services for homes in the San Antonio area, and we can also inspect the heating system to make sure it’s ready for the winter.

6. Melted Rubber or Plastic

The smell of burning rubber or plastic can be caused by items being stored too close to your heater, but there are also other reasons why you may have this odor coming out of your vents. Some heaters have rubber and plastic parts that hold the heating components in place. If the parts break, the heating system may continue running and generate heat around the broken parts. In these situations, it’s best to shut off your heater and contact a technician from MD Air Conditioning & Heating to make repairs.

7. Outdoor Odors

Your heating system draws in a small amount of air from outside your home, including any odors that are in the area. Although rare, it is possible that the smell inside your home is coming from somewhere outside, such as a neighbor’s fireplace or nearby construction. You can make a quick check outside to see if the same odor is present. If you aren’t sure, you can contact MD Air Conditioning & Heating, and we’ll schedule a time for a technician to check your heating system.

Expert Heating Company in San Antonio

MD Air Conditioning & Heating offers heating and air conditioning services in the San Antonio area. Call us today to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment with one of our expert technicians.

Tags: , ,