Why Does The Office Heater Smell Like Its Burning?

Winter is just around the corner, which means you’ll be switching from air conditioning to heating pretty soon (if you haven’t already). In Tampa, Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, we still have a month or so before our local clients need to turn the heater on every day. However, we want those in northern climates to be prepared with everything they need to know about heater maintenance this time of year. 


At home and at the office, you may have noticed that your heater has a strange burning smell the first time you turn it on. If so, we want to reassure you that this is completely normal. 


During the summer, your heater goes dormant for several months (even longer if you live in a southern climate). This means that dust can collect in the vents. When you turn on the heater for the first time in winter, the dust burns off and will cause an odor for a few hours until it is all gone. This is a normal part of your HVAC system’s cycle and is not a cause for concern. 


How to Prevent Winter Burning Smells

If you dislike the smell of a burning heater, or simply don’t want to make your customers uncomfortable, there are two ways you can prevent this smell: 


  • Schedule a cleaning with your MaintenX HVAC technician – If you want to prevent the burning smell altogether, call your HVAC technician to perform a cleaning before the first cold day of winter. They can clear the dust and perform a routine checkup to ensure that your heater is in tip-top shape for the season. 


  • Replace the air filter before you turn on the heater – While this won’t eliminate the smell completely, it will help your system to filter out the dust as the air starts to circulate and ensure that the burning smell is dissipated more quickly. 


Burning Smells That Are Cause for Concern


In most cases, it is normal for the heater to smell a little strange the first time you turn it on. However, if you notice the smell of burning plastic, rubber, or an electrical burning smell, turn off the heater and contact MaintenX immediately. 


These burning smells mean that something inside the HVAC system — a wire, electrical component, or piece of machinery within the heater — is burning. This can be dangerous in some circumstances and will guarantee a costly repair bill if you don’t fix the problem immediately. Don’t take any chances and call us if the burning smell is suspicious or doesn’t go away after a few hours. 


If you’d like to learn more about winter maintenance for your facility, contact us today!

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