Ever noticed how sometimes the HVAC smells like burning plastic? It might not always be a cause for alarm, but in some instances, it will require you to call for emergency assistance from an HVAC professional. Read on to find out the reason for the burning smells and how you can prevent them.
What Does It Smell Like Exactly?
A burning plastic smell from the heating cooling and ventilation system is distinct. It is not like burning dust or mildew. When it happens, it can be the most confusing situation. The pungent smell will fill all the rooms as it travels through the ducts and the vents. There are many factors for the burning plastic smell on your HVAC system. To address the problem, you must find out what the exact cause is, since it could be an electrical wiring fault, overheated motors or a broken fan belt, among other reasons.
Causes of Burning Plastic Smell from the HVAC system
The most common cause of a burning plastic smell on your HVAC system is an electrical fault. A problem with connection causes the plastic coating on the electrical wires to melt, producing the burning plastic smell. This problem is just a symptom of far much worse that can happen to your equipment — which can either be total damage or even an electric fire. HVAC professionals at Worlock Air recommends that when you sense the smell, you should immediately power down your system and contact an electrician.
Broken Fan Belt
This is the case where your HVAC system has a belt drive for the fan. The belt is made of rubber and is used to rotate the fans to circulate air in and out of the house. When the belt breaks, it overheats and produces a burning rubber odor that smells like plastic.
When this happens, it is advisable to shut down the heating cooling and ventilation system and to contact an HVAC technician to repair the fan belts.
The HVAC system contains capacitors that help to power the motor. When the capacitors blow up, the engines overheat and give off a burning smell. Due to the plastic coated components near the motors, you will always sense this as a burning plastic smell. Capacitors can blow up due to power surges or overheated circuits.
Inside the HVAC system, there is a fan that works to blow fresh air throughout the home. The fan needs a motor to function. However, with time, the bearings on the HVAC motors wear out, thus causing it to overheat.
The Overheating Motor Creates a Burning Plastic Smell
Excess dust can also cause overheating motors. The air filters get too dusty and block the working of your HVAC systems. The motors are forced to work extra hard for your HVAC system to take in the air. This causes overheating and the burning smell.
How to Prevent Burning Plastic Smells
HVAC smells like burning plastic? The only way to stop the burning plastic smell from your AC is to conduct regular maintenance. With proper cleaning and checking of the system’s efficiency, you will be able to maintain fresh air circulation in your home and improve the lifespan of your heating, cooling, and ventilation system.