My Furnace Smells Like Burning Plastic! What Do I Do?

Proper furnace care is essential for keeping your furnace at peak performance. If you start to notice your furnace burning a strange odor, it’s time to pay attention. The most common cause of this kind of smell is melted plastic.

You might have a problem with a blocked or broken furnace if the smell persists. The good news is that you can fix this easily before it becomes a bigger issue.

Keep reading to learn why your furnace smells like burning plastic and how to fix it.


Burning Dust

If your furnace smells like burning plastic, this could be an indication of burning dust in the furnace. Burning dust is usually caused when electric furnaces have a buildup of dust that can catch fire and create a burning smell.

To remedy this smell and prevent further damage, first, turn off the power to the furnace and then open the access panels on both sides of the furnace. With a vacuum, carefully remove any dust and lint buildup, then replace the filters and access panels. 

Clogged Air Filter

A clogged air filter can impede proper airflow in your furnace, and fumes that contain plastic can then be emitted. To fix a clogged filter, simply locate your furnace’s air filter, remove the old filter, and replace it with a new one. The air filter should be changed at least once a year, or twice a year if you have pets in your home.

If the burning plastic smell reoccurs, you may need to have furnace services  inspect your furnace. This is one of the furnace replacement signs you have to look out for.

Electrical Burning

If you smell burning plastic coming from your furnace, you should shut off the power to the furnace and contact an HVAC technician immediately. Electrical burning is usually caused by an electrical failure in the furnace, such as a faulty wiring, relay, motor, or sensor.

In some cases, it can be caused by a problem outside the furnace, such as a problem with the power supply or the wires leading to the furnace. You must always look out for signs you need a new furnace to avoid much larger problems.

A Cracked Heat Exchanger

If your furnace smells like burning plastic then this is a big red flag that your heat exchanger is cracked. A heat exchanger is an important part of your furnace because it is responsible for transferring the heat generated by the furnace to your home.

A cracked heat exchanger can be a very dangerous issue and should be addressed ASAP. It can cause deadly Carbon Monoxide to leak into your home, resulting in a health hazard. Furnace odors should never be ignored to avoid any serious health problems.

Address Furnace Smells Like Burning Plastic Immediately

If your furnace smells like burning plastic, you should contact an HVAC professional to properly diagnose and repair the problem. In the meantime, you should turn off the furnace and contact an HVAC professional to avoid further damage. They can safely and quickly assess the situation and make any necessary repairs to restore the furnace.

Contact an HVAC professional today to prevent damage to your furnace and your home. Don’t let a furnace filled with burning plastic become a hazardous home emergency, act now and ensure your home is safe.

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