burning smell from HVAC

What to do if there is a burning smell coming from your HVAC

It can be worrying if you smell burning coming from your HVAC system and it can indicate a range of potential problems, some of which may be more serious than others. If you or your team do smell burning coming from your HVAC system it’s important to get to the bottom of the cause as soon as possible.

If you smell burning the first step is to turn off your HVAC system immediately. While the burning smell may only indicate a minor issue, there is a risk that it could be more serious and it’s important not to take any chances.

After your system is turned off you can then set about locating the source of the problem. Here we’ll look at three of the most common causes of a burning smell from an HVAC system.

Potential Fire

By far the worst-case scenario is that there is an actual fire causing the smell. The good news is that this is usually the least likely cause of the burning smell, but fires can occur within an HVAC system. This is one reason why it’s important to turn your air conditioning system off and inspect your facility right away.

If, when you inspect your system, you suspect there may be a fire, no matter how small, it’s important that your building is quickly evacuated and the fire service contacted. The safety of you, your staff and your customers is always the most important thing to consider in any situation so be sure to conduct a thorough inspection of the system before ruling out a fire.

Locating the source of the problem as quickly as possible is key not only for the system overall but also for reducing any potential safety risks.

Burning Dust

If your HVAC system hasn’t been used for some time you may notice a burning smell once it is turned on. More often than not this is simply dust being burnt off within your system. If you’ve been undertaking any building maintenance or similar work since your HVAC system was last used, then significant amounts of dust and debris may have built up.

 When HVAC systems sit unused for a long period of time, the dust settles on the top and then burns off once you turn it on. In this case, there’s very little danger and the dust smell should dissipate within a few minutes.

Faulty components

Over time components in your HVAC system can all reach the end of their service life. As components run out they can create a range of different problems. While an HVAC system can run with some parts performing at less than optimal level some issues can present in different ways.

HVAC systems contain a fan and capacitator which help to move air throughout your facility and help the motor run. These components can and do degrade and malfunction, causing them to overheat. When this occurs they may emit a burning smell from your system. Similarly, if the motor’s bearings have worn out, the motor can also overheat creating a burning smell.

Don’t ignore the warning signs

Even if you’ve established that a fire hasn’t caused the burning smell from your HVAC system it’s important to find the cause of the problem as soon as possible. Ignoring failing parts can ultimately lead to a complete system breakdown and extra costs.

ECS Yorkshire will ensure that your system is designed, fitted and working at an optimal level reducing the risk of significant maintenance issues arising while driving down running costs. Our industry-leading HVAC commissioning services ensure that the system which has been installed in a building works as intended by the building’s owner and is operating both safely and efficiently.

Contact us today to find out more about our comprehensive HVAC design, fitting and installation services.