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Burning Smell Coming From Furnace Vents. What Could It Be?

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Burning smell coming from vents...

Burning smell coming from vents. Just changed filter last month. What is it?

Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: HVAC
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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/20/2010
HVAC Technician: freon, Licensed A/C Contractor replied 7 years ago
freon
freon, Licensed A/C Contractor
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 215
Experience: 22 years Licensed Contractor State of Texas
Verified

I would like to help you. Are you in the heating mode or cooling?

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
I was in heating mode but, turned the heater off
HVAC Technician: freon, Licensed A/C Contractor replied 7 years ago

Normally this burning smell could be: electric heat strips or gas furnace start up if for the first time in a while. Next if you have already been running the unit for a while, it may be the blower motor over heating. Do you have gas or electric heating?

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

It is electric heating

HVAC Technician: freon, Licensed A/C Contractor replied 7 years ago
Has the heating been off for a while?
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

Only for about a half an hour... Would it take longer for the smell to go away?

HVAC Technician: freon, Licensed A/C Contractor replied 7 years ago

Well at this point I am not sure if the smell was from the heat strips or if it is from the motor overheating. Now is the fan running still or has it turned off? You may also check this by turning on your fan at the thermostat. Switch it from auto to on position.

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

Would the fan make the smell come out?

HVAC Technician: freon, Licensed A/C Contractor replied 7 years ago

Yes. But we need to check and make sure the fan is working.... It may have burned up. How old is this heater?

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

Let me go run the fan and see.... About 3 years old, not too old...

HVAC Technician: freon, Licensed A/C Contractor replied 7 years ago

Ok great, I hope you are not using pleated filters! They really make your system work hard and usually cost you a lot of extra money in utility costs!!!

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

I just turned the fan on and it seems to still smell through the vents.... What else do you use for filters?

HVAC Technician: freon, Licensed A/C Contractor replied 7 years ago

Oh you have been using the pleated kind! Here is why I say this... Most people have return air systems that are marginal at best. If you take and put this highly resistive pleated filter in place of the poly (cheep) type you are hurting your system. Some have even ruined the blower motor. Now I am not positive that this is what has occurred at your home but something is definitely wrong.

Do you feel air coming out of the vents?If you see smoke then turn unit off. And call for service. If you can you should also turn off the breaker that services this electric furnace. Do you see smoke?

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

No smoke, but I think the filter was brown in an area that may have been burnt. What filter should we buy?

HVAC Technician: freon, Licensed A/C Contractor replied 7 years ago

Well honestly I don't see how the filter could be burning. Do you have an electronic air cleaner attached to your Electric furnace? The cheep filter is called a poly filter or fiber glass filter... They usually run about two dollars at the builders supply store.

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Ok we will have to get the other filter. I don't know about the electronic air cleaner...
HVAC Technician: freon, Licensed A/C Contractor replied 7 years ago

Ok let me be clear... Did you buy an electronic air cleaner and have it installed at your home? This is part of your a/c system and can make the burning smell if you have one of these.

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

No we didn't buy an electric air cleaner... Should we still replace the filter and see if that is the problem?

HVAC Technician: freon, Licensed A/C Contractor replied 7 years ago

Yes. Your motor may have sustained damage... I don't know for sure. However you have been smelling the burning smell and I think it is important for us to figure what is causing it.

Replacing the filter is a long range solution. The short term solution is to remove the pleated filter and run the system for a few hours and see if this helps clear the burning smell.

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

So remove the pleated filter and replace it with the other one and see if that solves the problem??

HVAC Technician: freon, Licensed A/C Contractor replied 7 years ago

Yes. Try this and see if the burning smell goes away.

freon
freon, Licensed A/C Contractor
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 215
Experience: 22 years Licensed Contractor State of Texas
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