The last few times your home's electric central heating system has kicked on, you may have noticed a smell like something is burning. Unlike the faint odor caused by dust burning off when the system is first turned on that you may be accustomed to, this smell lingers and seems stronger.
Whenever you detect a persistent burning smell coming from the furnace, you should always investigate the cause, and if needed, have a professional take a look at it. Below are a couple of possible reasons why there is the smell of something burning coming from your home's electric furnace.
1. Motor for the Blower Fan Is Overheating
One possible reason why your home's electric furnace is emitting a burning odor is that the motor for the blower fan is overheating. There are a couple of reasons why this overheating could be occurring.
First, the blower fan may be fighting to force air through the system because of a lack of free airflow. One of the most common causes of this is that the filter is clogged up. You could try replacing it with a clean one to see if this helps to eliminate the odor.
Second, the bearings inside the motor itself have become worn and are grinding together, which creates the odor. For this problem, you will need to have a professional verify that this is the cause of the odor and replace the bearings if needed.
2. Wires Within the Furnace Are Damaged
Another possible problem with your home's furnace that could create the odor is an issue with the wiring within the unit. If the wires have become frayed or are overheating and melting the plastic, they could be heating up the insulation inside the system.
Since electrical issues could possibly result in a fire, if you suspect that the wiring is causing the smell, shut off and unplug the furnace. Then, before running the system again, have a professional inspect the wiring.
Whether the burning odor coming from your home's furnace is caused by an overheating blower fan motor or frayed wires, do not continue to run the system. If you keep using the heater with these issues, you could cause irreparable damage to the unit. After switching off the furnace, contact an HVAC contractor near your home's location who offers residential heating repair services, explain what is going on with the system, and schedule a time for them to inspect the unit and diagnose the problem so that they can fix it as soon as possible.
For more information on residential heating repair, contact a professional near you.