Advanced Air

Why Is There a Burning Smell Coming Out of My AC Vents?

April 14, 2015

There are 3 potential reasons you’ve noticed a burning plastic smell coming out of your air conditioning vents:

  • There’s a fire in your home somewhere and the AC is re-circulating the smell
  • It’s just your heater burning off dust.
  • Something in your AC is overheating

If it’s the first — stop reading this, evacuate your home and call the fire department!

Now, did you just turn on the heat? Most of the year in Southwest Florida, we get away without needing any form of heat. But during a cold snap, you may notice a burning smell that happens when the heat turns on.

That’s simply the heater burning off the dust that has collected throughout the year from not being used. It should go away after a few minutes.

But if you notice a burning smell and your AC is in ‘cooling’ mode: shut off your air conditioner immediately.

Running the AC while something is wrong will only make things worse (and result in a bigger repair bill). Now call a professional air conditioning repair company to come fix the problem.

Now that your air conditioner is off, here are some reasons that an AC can smell like something’s burning.

An overheating motor

In your air conditioner’s inside unit, there is a fan that moves air throughout your home.

The fan motor’s bearings can wear out, causing the motor to overheat and give off a burning smell.

A bad capacitor

Without going into too much detail, the capacitor is the part that helps the motor run. So if the capacitor goes bad, it can cause the motor to overheat and give off a burning smell.

Another electrical problem

There could be another internal electrical problem in your air conditioner causing your motor (or another part) to overheat.

A trained AC repair technician should check the entire circuit in your air conditioner to find the source of the electrical problem.

Advanced Air serves Southwest Florida in Lee and Collier Counties. For more info, contact us today.