Reasons Your AC Smells Like It’s Burning & How To Get Rid Of It

A burning smell coming out from your AC unit is usually problematic for many things. Firstly, you may be worried about starting a fire, but don’t worry, that may not be the case. Secondly, the burning odor is unpleasant, so you probably don’t want to smell it each time you want to cool off or warm up your home.

Fortunately, you can try some tips at home to get rid of that smell while waiting for the Ahwatukee AC service to arrive. Keep reading below to learn more.

Checking an AC unit in Maricopa, AZ

Why Does My AC Unit Smell Like Burning?

There is no single specific reason to know why your air conditioner has that unpleasant burning smell. It could be anything from a broken capacitor to a clogged filter.

Take a look below at the 6 most common reasons that cause the burning smell.

Burnt Dust

Did you turn on the heater for the first time after a while and now you notice the burning smell? After several days of no use, your HVAC system starts collecting dust.

If you were traveling for many weeks and arrive home to turn on the heater immediately, don’t worry if you smell burning. When you turn on the heating system, the dust burns off, releasing a slight burning smell on the area.

This smell is harmless, but you can avoid it by simply staying away from home for a few minutes. Just keep in mind that if the smell remains after several minutes, you may have another issue.

Clogged Air Filter

When was the last time you changed the air filter? The filter can get clogged after a while, indicating that’s time to call a Chandler AC repair company.

When your air filter becomes bogged down with debris and dust, airflow is extremely restricted. This restriction can make the motors work harder than usual. Plus, it can put an excess strain on other components in your AC system.

As a result, these components will release a burning smell, and you will probably notice it after a few minutes.

Broken Capacitor

The capacitor is an item in your air conditioning system that powers the motor. If this item fails, the motor can overheat and give off an unpleasant burning smell.

The capacitor can break for many reasons, including power surges to general wear or overheated circuitry.

Electrical shorts can also make your capacitor break. You cannot avoid electrical shorts (they happen from time to time), but you can check your HVAC system whenever possible to see if there are serious issues.

Overheated Motor

A faulty capacitor is not the only thing that can give off a burning odor. A faulty motor can do the same.

Over time, your motor can wear out. When the motor wears out, it starts overworking, leading to a burning smell. It can also indicate that a component of the motor is melting. A Gilbert AC contractor can check your AC system to see what’s happening inside your unit.

Overheated Belt-Drive Motor

If your air conditioning system is equipped with a belt-drive blower and not a direct-drive blower, make sure it is not already wearing out.

Belt-drive blowers have a rubber belt that can wear out after a few years, causing a burning rubber smell.

Burnt Electrical Components

If the burning odor smells more like burning plastic and rotten eggs, be aware! This could indicate serious electrical damage lurking within your HVAC system.

Your HVAC system has plastic components surrounding the wires, and if these wires start burning, you will smell a foul odor.

Short circuits, defective breakers, and loose screws can cause the same issue too.

What Should I Do If My AC Smells Like Burning?

If the smell is not strong, you can check the air filter. Be sure to replace it each month. However, the best you can do if the smell is too strong is to turn off the HVAC system and call a professional.

Contact a Maricopa AC Service

Sometimes HVAC problems are better left to the experts. If your AC system is giving off a burning odor or it is not working properly, the experts at 911 AC Repair can help you. We provide numerous services to keep your HVAC system in the best condition. Contact us now to get a FREE quote!


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911 Air Repair

20625 N, Ancon Ave
Maricopa, AZ 85139

Phone: (480)-360-1234