Having an odor come out of your HVAC system is a red flag. Sometimes, the bad odor will go away, especially if you haven't used that system in a long time. Although in most cases, a burnt plastic odor, or a musty smell could mean there's a bigger problem that needs to be investigated. So, you are noticing your HVAC unit smells like burning plastic? Continue reading on to see what may be the causes of different smells coming from your HVAC system.
HVAC Smells Like Burning Plastic
Burning Smell Coming From Heater or Furnace
A burnt plastic odor coming from your heater probably means you have an electrical or wiring problem. Any number of things could cause this - from poor electrical connections during installation, all the way to using poor coating for the wire. Either of these could start a fire, so it's good to take precautionary measures whenever you smell this odor. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, home electrical fires account for about 51,000 fires every year. This ultimately winds up with nearly 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and property damage that equates to about $1.3 billion. Therefore, your immediate first step should be to turn off your heater and then to contact an electrician.
If you've gone a long time without turning on your heater, it may give off the same slightly burnt rubber odor. This is most likely as a result of dust accumulating in the vents. Give it a few minutes to dissipate. If the odor is resistant, then switch it off and call the electrician.
Mildew & Musty Odor Coming From Your HVAC Units
If you know anything about mold, it's that they can grow anywhere. For the most part, a leaking pipe or defrosting after a particularly intense winter could provide the right conditions for them to grow since it now has adequate humidity.
The worst part about mold growing in your HVAC unit is that their micro particles can get into your respiratory system directly through the air being blown. Mildew and mold in vents are thus infinitely less safe than if those growing on your bathroom walls.
It's better to take preventive measures against vent mold, because sometimes the musty odor commonly associated with mold may be absent.
Sour Or Putrid Smell
Identifying the different odors coming from your HVAC unit can be the difference between a costly maintenance or a DIY solution. If you notice a particularly intense putrid smell, it's possible you have a dead pest on your hands. This is common, since most pests look for where to hibernate during winter and turning on the air conditioner/heater could kill them.
If your HVAC units are easily accessible, taking the dead pest out and doing a thorough clean up could take away the horrid odor, and you may not need to call anyone for help.
Regular Maintenance Prevents All Odors
If you regularly check your HVAC system for any discrepancies, you’ll be able to avoid having to deal with any odors coming out of your system. Remember that one of the worst case scenarios for when your HVAC smells like burning plastic is that it could cause your house to burn down. This is especially with all the electrical works and gas lines within close distance.
One major advantage of regular HVAC maintenance is that, because your heaters and air conditioning systems are working at their peak, they'll consume less energy - thus lowering your utility bill.
HVAC smells like burning plastic? Odors being emitted from your HVAC system is usually a red flag of other underlying issues. It’s key to get these checked out right away so that you can prevent any further damage to your home. Some smells that you should keep an eye out for include burning plastic, mold or mildew, or a sour and putrid smell.