air conditioning burning smell


When you notice an air conditioning burning smell, you may worry and assume the unit is on fire or the problem is severe. Most causes for the burning odor are not a reason to be alarmed and have simple solutions. If you are worried about the burning smell, you can contact Queen Creek’s AC repair experts, Felix Appliance Heating & Air, for immediate repair assistance for your AC unit. 

Reasons for an Air Conditioning Burning Smell

While there are many reasons your AC emits a burning smell, there are six common ones that Felix Appliance Heating & Air often addresses in our line of work. It is critical to learn what they are and how to resolve them, but contacting a certified and licensed team of professionals is the best way to get an accurate diagnosis and find the safest solution. Trained technicians have the equipment and knowledge to stop the odor and the issues causing it.

1. The air filter is clogged.

Has it been two months or longer since you cleaned or replaced your air filter? Dirt and debris build up in your AC’s air filter over time and can limit the function of your air conditioning if you do not replace it. The clogged filter can block airflow from the unit and strain components trying to run as hard as they can, and a burning smell can occur as a result. 

Solution: Check if your filter is clogged or dirty. You should replace your air filter monthly and can buy multiple at a time to stay on top of the routine task. This simple step is essential to keep your unit running efficiently. 

2. The accumulated dust is burning off.

It is natural to accumulate dust, allergens, and other particles when you do not use your air conditioning unit for many weeks or months. Turning it on after it is idle can cause the dirt and debris to burn off and release a light-burning odor. It is usually temporary and not anything serious.

Solution: You may find the burning smell will go away after a few minutes, but if not, contact Felix Appliance Heating & Air for further support. You should schedule a professional and thorough air conditioning cleaning and maintenance appointment. 

3. The motor is overheating.

A problematic motor is also a potential cause of your air conditioning’s burning smell because the bearings wear out over time. 

Solution: Provide lubrication to the motor’s bearings after turning off the air conditioning unit. Hopefully, it will not wear out, but some cases require replacement.

4. The belt-drive motor is overheating.

Your AC unit could have a belt drive that supports the blower, but it can wear down and possibly melt over time. The burning smell having a rubbery odor indicates that the old and worn rubber bell is the problem.

Solution: Replace your rubber belt with a fresh one and see if the problem persists. 

5. The AC capicator is broken.

Your air conditioning capacitor is responsible for powering the unit’s motor, but a broken one will make it overheat and emit a burning smell. The odor could also smell slightly like plastic, indicating it is a capacitor issue. It can break for numerous reasons, such as natural wear, electric problems, or overheating.

Solution: You need to replace the capacitor to resolve this. Turn off your air conditioner and call a professional to perform the service.

6. Electrical issues are occurring.

Electrical issues may be the reason for the burning smell if the odor has a sulfur-like, rotten egg or plastic scent. Overheated wiring can smell like plastic because of its casing. Short circuits, faulty breakers, and poor wiring can all cause electrical issues, but do not attempt to inspect these parts yourself.

Solution: Turn off your HVAC unit, and contact Felix Appliance Heating & Air immediately to fix this alarming issue.

Contact Felix Appliance Heating & Air for Air Conditioning Repair & Maintenance!

Felix Appliance Heating & Air offers only the best AC maintenance in Maricopa, AZ, and can help you immediately if you notice a burning smell. With over 200 5-star reviews, our family-owned and operated business is the preferred choice for heating, cooling, and appliance repair services. We also have convenient financing options to make our services accessible and affordable, and our scheduling operates on two-hour blocks.

Let our team of technicians help diagnose and fix your air conditioning burning smell. Call us at 480-406-7487 or book an appointment at your earliest convenience through our website. We look forward to providing you with excellent customer service and support!

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