Furnace Odor: Why Is Your Furnace Emitting a Burning Smell?

Furnace in garage

If there is one thing a Greensboro homeowner does not want when the weather turns cold, it's having their furnace begin to experience problems. For many people, they have no idea what may be occurring. As a result, they panic and think the worst.

However, by taking some time to understand why a furnace may be emitting a burning smell, it's possible to have a better idea of the problem when contacting a service technician. To learn more about the most common reasons why a furnace may emit a burning smell, take a look at the following ideas.

Motor Windings

If your furnace emits a strong burning smell as if plastic is burning, chances are the motor windings in the furnace's motor are short-circuiting and burning up. A very common problem, it will allow the motor to still run, but at a much slower speed. As a general rule, if this happens it's a good idea to cut off the power to the furnace as a safety concern. In addition to a strong smell of plastic burning, this problem will also emit a very strong smell similar to rotten eggs, which may take a few days to completely disappear.

Transformer Burning

Along with the motor windings short-circuiting, the transformer in a furnace is also prone to short-circuiting. This often happens when the unit's thermostat has been upgraded or replaced, and can also result in a strong smell of burning plastic emitting throughout a home. If this happens, the burning plastic smell will be accompanied by a sickly, sweet smell that will continue until the power is disconnected. However, the good news is that this is considered a rather easy repair for technicians to make, which will enable the furnace to be working again very soon.

Lack of Proper Maintenance

Due to people being busy with work and family, the furnace is often left on its own. As a result, regular maintenance procedures often fall by the wayside, which if done so over a period of time can lead to a strong, polluted smell when it's turned on at the beginning of winter.

In most cases, the smell is coming from a combination of dirt, pollen, hair, dead human skin, and at times dead animals such as rats and mice that found their way inside the furnace. By having a Greensboro technician conduct an annual maintenance check, this problem can be easily avoided.

Are you having trouble with your Greensboro, NC furnace? Call The Plumbing Service Company at (336) 502-8540 for all your heating needs!