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Heater Odor: Why is Your Heater Emitting a Burning Smell?

When winter weather arrives and the temperatures fall, many people turn to heaters to keep their homes warm. However, in some instances the heater may begin to emit a burning smell when it is turned on. While sometimes it may be a minor issue, other times it can indicate a more serious problem is present.

No matter what the issue may be, any burning smells coming from a heater should be taken seriously to lessen the chances of an accident happening. To learn more about the various kinds of burning smells and what causes them, take a look at the following tips.

Ft. Lauderdale heater-repair-servicesShort Circuit in Motor

In many cases the problem can be a short circuit in the heater's motor, which is usually a result of the motor's windings burning up. A rather common problem in heaters, this will be indicated by an extremely rotten smell being emitted from the heater.

When this happens, the heater's motor will still run, but at a much slower speed. In most of these cases, the heater may have to be replaced if the windings become too damaged.

Burning Dust

Considered the most common problem with heaters, burning dust is often noticed when the heater is turned on at the beginning of the season. If there is a strong, pollution-like smell coming from the heater when first turned on, it's probably dust burning off the fan and motor. So long as the heater appears to be working properly and the smell disappears within a few minutes, this should be one problem that is easily corrected.


Very sensitive to short circuits, transformers often give out when the circuit board makes a mistake and determines that the heater's motor is burning up. When this is the case, a very strong smell that is extremely sweet will be present. In most cases, the transformers will burn up when the thermostat in the heater begins to give out, which will then prompt the circuit board to give out as well. Unlike when windings burn up, the motor in this case will cease to function or will run at an very low speed until a technician can make the necessary repairs.

By knowing the possible reasons why certain smells are emitting from a heater, a person will be much more able to understand whether the problem is insignificant or one that may require the assistance of a technician.

Are you having trouble with your Ft. Lauderdale, FL furnace? Call AAA Modern Air at 954-241-2523 for all your heating needs!