Why Does My HVAC System Smell Like Smoke?

Updated On: 10/30/23

Your Savannah, GA, home’s HVAC system should not emit any odors. A smell of smoke coming from your HVAC system could be a cause for concern. Here are some of the most common causes of smoke odors from HVAC systems:

Why Does My HVAC System Smell Like Smoke?

1. Dirt or Dust Buildup

If you haven’t used your heating or cooling system in a while, there could be dust or dirt buildup in your home’s ducts or air vents. You can remove the vent covers and use your vacuum’s attachment to remove visible dust. The smoky odor could also come from a dirty air filter. Filters should be replaced every 90 days or sooner.

2. Overheated Wiring, Motor or Fan

A component of your HVAC system may have overheated. The excess heat may burn insulation on wiring, resulting in a smoky smell. It could also burn any dust or debris on the fan. An overheated motor will also make an odor of smoke; the lubricant on the motor is responsible for the odor. Motors and fans can overheat due to lack of maintenance, loss of lubricant or extremely hot outdoor temperatures.

3. Dirt or Debris in or on Coils or Housing

The coils of the HVAC system are where heat is exchanged with the outdoor air. If the coils are covered in dust or dirt, the heat could cause a burning smell from the organic material. This can also happen if your heat pump is using the emergency heating function. Dust on the resistance wires creates a burning smell as the hot air passes over it. Debris in the outdoor unit’s housing could generate a smoke smell from the hot air released by a heat pump or air conditioner.

At Savannah Air Factory, our qualified technicians inspect your heating and cooling system and find out why it smells like smoke. We’re also able to provide you with heating and air conditioning repair, installations and replacements. Our maintenance plans save you money and ensure your year-round comfort. For more information about why your HVAC system smells of smoke, contact us at Savannah Air Factory.