A schoolmate and close friend live in a house that requires air conditioning for it to be comfortable.
- This means that she has to have the AC and furnace running when it is summer and winter, respectively.
She depends on the HVAC system entirely to survive. This one time, she felt some strange plastic smell from her furnace. It had been a long time before it was used since we had just come from a long summer season. It is possible for one to feel the burning smell after a while of furnace disuse. Typically, this results from accumulated dust and dirt, which must burn first before the furnace can heat up. It should take a few minutes before the burning smell dissipates. However, when the scent tends towards plastic, then you have to be cautious. This could mean several things, with the first being that some plastic material may have been accidentally left inside the furnace and is now burning when you light it. It is also possible that wires could be burning or worn out and in need of repairs. The latter case is the most common occurrence. Components that need to be replaced in this case include capacitors that are often plastic coated and will smell burnt plastic when they malfunction. Others that could lead to this smell also have the fan belt and plastic-coated wires. When these components wear out, they are easily affected by heat and, as a result, will burn. In her case, the pieces were worn out and needed urgent replacement. However, always call an HVAC technician to assess the damage and advise otherwise. If the smell intensifies with time despite switching off the furnace, you need to contact the fire service to be on standby just in case something serious happens.