why does my house smell like burning plastic

Although you may not need to use your heater much during the winter months in Central Florida, it s nice to know that you can rely on your heating system during the occasional cold front. But after sitting dormant for months at a time, you may notice an unexpected and unpleasant surprise when you turn on your heater for the first time. While a burning smell coming from your electric heater, furnace, or heat pump is common (and normally not a cause for alarm), you donвt have to live with a less-than-pleasant burning odor. If your heaterВsmells like itвs burning, here are three potential culprits. 1. Heater Smells Like: Burning Dust
Accumulated dust is the most common source of a burning smell from yourВ heater. Whether you operate an electric heater, furnace, or heat pump, a system that has remained dormant can accumulate dust and other particles from the air supply in your home. When the heating system is turned on, these materials burn up, causing that short-lived burning dust smell. While you don t need to contact the fire department, you should take a look just to be sure that there isn t another source of the smell. You may notice that as the system completes a heating cycle, the odorВ fades. If it continues after one or two heating cycles, consider contacting an HVAC technician for help. 2.


Heater Smells Like: Burning Plastic or Burning Rubber In some cases, rubber, plastic, or other materials end up inside of the ductwork via the air vents. If you smell a burning plastic smell or burning rubber smell that is not consistent throughout your house, try to isolate the location. Inspect the air vents in theВ area that has a strong burning odorВ to make sure that there isn t an obstruction. Just make sure you don t close your vents because this can affect the balance of your HVAC system and reduce its efficiency. If this doesnвt remedy the burning smell, contact an experienced HVAC technician for help. 3. Heater Smells Like: Electric Burning Although wiring issues aren t common, if your heater emits an electrical burning smell, it could be indicative of an electrical problem. If the burning smell does not ebb after one or two heating cycles, it could be a serious issue that requires professional troubleshooting, so donвt wait to call a trained HVAC technician. Fortunately, if thereвs a burning smell coming from your heater, thereвs usually no reason to worryвbut if you need the assistance of an experienced HVAC company, turn to Energy Air.


We offer comprehensive that can help minimize your risk of dealing with that unpleasant burning smell. Give us a call today to learn how we can help or schedule an appointment online. I ve lived in my house for a little over a year, and this is the first time this problem has occurred, and it s happened twice in 3 days. The first time it happened on Saturday while I was taking a shower and it was bad enough that the smoke detectors went off. The second time was today, but it hasn t set off the detectors. Bother times the smell eventually just went away. I have no idea what s causing these. If something was on fire, you would expect the house to burn down instead of the smell going away, right? And it s not caused by the dishwasher, stove, dryer, or any other appliance (except maybe the fridge) since they weren t running. The only other detail that might be relevant is that it seems to be strongest in the kitchen. My thoughts were that it could be connected to the furnace (i. e. something small got burnt up and it was blowing the smoke through the house), the water heater (since it occurred while taking a shower, then after I used some hot water in the kitchen sink), or the fridge (since the smell is strongest in the kitchen).


Are there any suggestions to what could be causing this, or a professional I could call that might be able to figure it out? I would prefer for my house to not burn down. EDIT: I called an electrician, and seemed like he didn t think it was an electrical problem base on our phone conversation. He said an electrical problem would cause the smoke to have a plastic smell, and I would be having other electrical issues, neither of which are the case. EDIT #2: I took off the cover for the circuit breakers and the wires were copper and they all looked to be in good order. However, right after doing that I noticed the electricity in one of my bedrooms stopped working. The bedroom is close to the kitchen, so there s some possibility that it s connected to the smell, but the electricity there had been working earlier in the day (which I know because that s where my modem was, I had to move it). The electricity stopped working like this about 6 months ago for a closet and outlet, but there was no smell then. EDIT #3: So I decided to turn off the breakers for the two problem areas (closet and bedroom) and call an electrician first thing tomorrow. Depending on when they can come I ll call the fire department too. Thanks for all the help!

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