HVAC Smells Like Burning Plastic – What Is It Coming From?

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HVAC smells like burning plastic? When foul smells fill your home and ruin your air quality, the last thing you’d expect is to find them coming from the AC. When it happens, it could mean a lot of different things depending on what the smell is like and where it’s coming from. This article will go in depth about the possible causes as to why your HVAC system is emitting a burning plastic smell.

HVAC Smells like Burning Plastic

Improper Wiring

Turning on your HVAC system only to be met with the smell of burning plastic is usually not a good sign. The best case scenario is that improper wiring has caused the insulation on some of the wires to melt off, and that’s what is giving off the burning plastic smell. A worse scenario is that some of the equipment in your HVAC system has sustained fire damage due to an electrical fault which can then lead to an electrical fire.

Keeping Your System Off

HVAC Smells Like Burning Plastic

You may experience one of the situations when you turn on your HVAC system after it’s been off for a while. Regardless of what may be the cause, the smell of burning plastic should never be taken lightly, and the first thing you should do once you notice the smell, even before calling repairs and maintenance specialists from Worlock Air, is to turn off your entire heating and cooling system for safety reasons.

If the smell isn’t quite like burning plastic, you may still have a problem on your hands though it might not be as serious. If your HVAC system has been off for a long time, that burning smell could just be the heater burning off the dust that had accumulated during its period of inactivity. That doesn’t make it any less stinky, however, and if it doesn’t dissipate in a few minutes, you may need to investigate the cause of the smell.


Different Types of Smells

Aside from burning smells, your heater may also emit moldy or musty smells, not unlike those of an attic that hasn’t been opened in a while. If the smell of mildew is wafting through your ventilation, you might have a humidity problem. Excess moisture in the air leads to the growth of mildew as well as bacteria in your vents. Luckily, this is a problem that can be solved by a dehumidifier.

Moist or damp air can come from a heater that’s been turned on at the beginning of the cold season. After sitting idle for a while, it may accumulate frost, and kicking it back into gear causes this frost to turn into moisture, which leads to the damp, musty smell. As your heater defrosts, it increases air humidity, and this also provides suitable breeding grounds for various microorganisms.

Sometimes the smell can be rancid rather than mildewed. Usually, this means that something died somewhere in your HVAC system, and the smell of its decaying body is being conveyed through the air vents. For this, you will have to contact pest control first before seeking the services of HVAC maintenance experts.

Next Steps

HVAC smells like burning plastic or maybe some other distinct odors? All of these foul smells, from the musty ones to the burning plastic odors, are often signs of a poorly maintained heating and cooling system. The best way of avoiding dealing with any of these smells when you turn on your HVAC system for a new season is to adopt regular HVAC maintenance practices.

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