Why Does My Central HVAC System Air Vents Smell like Burning Plastic in Old Manhattan, NY?

If you haven’t already started using your heat in New York, you will be sooner than later. More often than not when you start using your heat, people will notice abnormal burning like smells emitting from the ducts or other areas of the HVAC system. The buildup of dust will burn off with the reaction of the heat coils as the heat strip engages, which is a very normal and common occurrence. Generally, the smell lasts but a day or two, usually. Today, we at Agape Heating and Air Conditioning would like to expound a little more in depth on the burning smells, and other sources of unusually odors when you flip the heat on.

Odor Coming from Air Conditioning Vents

When you turn the heat on for the first time of the season, or even the first time you have the heat on consistently at the start of the season, many New Yorkers smell a burning odor. It is most likely the dust accumulation as we mentioned earlier. However, there are other possibilities you should be aware of when it comes to smells and the HVAC system.

Buildup of Dust in HVAC System

Throughout the summer, a bit of the early spring, and beginning of fall, most don’t use their heating system. During our long stretches of warm weather many of the components of your heating system may have built up layers of dust after sitting idle. When you turn on your heat for the first time during the fall/winter season, the dust will burn off and the smell will then circulate through your ductwork inside your home. Additionally, the dust and dirt may have settled in air ducts as well. All in all, the burning smell is likely derived of the heating system singing the dirt.

Heat Strips Activation

When you are well into the winter months and the system has been used, you are likely to notice this burning odor if temperatures are especially low or if you have made an adjustment to your thermostat more than a few degrees to raise the temperature. The heat strips in your air handler comes on in order to supplement your system’s attempt to increase the heat. Fairly common, the heat strip-air handler combination has likely accumulated some dust buildup as well, which will cause it to burn off when the heat is increased.

Causes of HVAC Burning Smells

Should you continue to notice a burning smell coming from your heating system beyond your initial use, but the culprit may be faulty heater components. Your heat might be another cause from the debris or objects making contact with the parts of your system. A more serious problem is electrical shorts in your heat pump that potentially melt wires or insulators.

HVAC Furnace & Boiler Heating Services & More in Manhattan, Flushing, Queens, Brooklyn & The Bronx, New York

Contact a pro immediately if the smells persist after a few days. Keep in mind that if you invest in a tune-up service, most of the dust is cleaned and you can count on your heating system operating to maximum potential this winter. Call Agape Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule your maintenance services or if burning smells emit for more than three days.