Why Does My House Suddenly Smell Like Burning Plastic?

Why Does My House Suddenly Smell Like Burning Plastic?

Your house suddenly starts to smell like burning plastic, this is not a pleasant odor. You have no idea what’s causing it and your plans for the weekend are ruined before they even start. A few things create these types of problems in homes including air conditioners, sewer lines and HVAC systems.

The best way to get rid of this smelly stench for good would be to find what caused all the trouble in the first place, which means digging into each one of those areas and finding out what’s going on before being able to take care of the problem. If your house suddenly smells like burning plastic, there could be a number of reasons. In this article, we are going to explore those reasons and also provide a detailed solution to them.

Why Does My House Suddenly Smell Like Burning Plastic?

There are many reasons why your house might suddenly smell like burning plastic. The most common causes of this unpleasant odor are a leaking air conditioner, an over-fired object, or something that’s caught on fire nearby. A burning plastic smell indicates electrical fire. If you can’t figure out where the smell is coming from, it’s best to be safe and call a professional to take a look.

In any case, it’s important to be aware of the danger signs and take action if necessary. A burning plastic smell is often an indicator of an electrical fire, so make sure to shut down the AC and evacuate the premises if necessary.

8 Reasons Your House Smells Like Burning Plastic

1. Electrical Fire Can Cause a Burning Plastic Smell.

If you smell something burning and it smells like plastic, there is a good chance that you are experiencing an electrical fire. Electrical fires can cause all sorts of different smells, so it’s important to be aware of what these smells could mean.

The most common indication of an electrical fire is a burning plastic smell. If this is the case, it’s important to take action right away. Turn off all switches in your house and see if the smell goes away. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to call an electrician to help find the source of the issue.

2. Dirty Wood Burner/Fireplace Can Cause a Burning Plastic Smell.

If you’re noticing a burning plastic smell in your home, the first thing you should check is your fireplace or wood burner. It’s possible that it needs to be cleaned out more often than you’ve been doing it.

Make sure the wood you’re using is dry, otherwise it will produce an even worse smell and last longer. If the problem persists, call a professional chimney sweeper to take care of the issue for you.

3. Overheating Water Heater Can Cause a Burning Plastic Smell.

A water heater needs a lot of heat to change the temperature of the water. You will notice this smell when you are trying to get hot water for your home. The water heater is generally located in your basement, attic, or utility closet.

If you allow this problem to persist, more damage will be done to your home.

4. Overheating Air Conditioning System Can Cause a Burning Plastic Smell.

When the air conditioning system gets too hot, it starts to smell like burning plastic. The AC unit is built to distribute air through the house, but this can cause overheating at times. If your house smells like burnt plastic and you live in a warm climate, then it could be that your AC has caught fire.

The smell could be coming from the vents in your home. The best thing to do is turn off the air conditioner and power to your house if the smell becomes stronger.

If you’re not sure what’s causing the issue, consider leaving your home or building entirely while checking around for fire hazards that may have been spread throughout the property by a faulty system. Burning plastic is a sign of something serious – if the house smells like fire, it’s time to get out!

5. Heating System

One common complaint people have is that their house smells like burning plastic. This smell can be caused by a number of things, but one of the most common sources is the heating system.

When the heating system kicks on, it can cause certain plastics to melt and release that noxious smell. Thankfully, this only lasts for a few minutes after the system has been turned on and usually goes away once everything has had a chance to heat up.

If you’re having trouble getting rid of this smell, you may want to consider hiring a duct cleaning company to come in and clean out your vents.

6. Old Appliances Can Cause a Burning Plastic Smell.

You might have noticed a burning plastic smell in your home from time to time, and wondered what was causing it. Well, there are a few different things that could be causing the smell, but one of the most common is old appliances.

The first step to fixing the problem is determining what appliances are on and which are not. Once you know which appliances are emitting the smell, you can start trying to fix them. However, if you can’t identify the source of the smell or it’s getting worse, you should call an electrician right away.

Many electronic devices emit a burning plastic smell, but it could be due to an old DVD player or something else caused by electrical issues. The burning plastic smell typically means that whatever device is emitting the odor is going to stop working soon anyway, so you should get a new one instead of trying to fix it.

In some cases, however, replacing old appliances can actually make your home safer. Old appliances can create a fire hazard in your home, so it’s important to keep track of their age and replace them when they start showing signs of wear and tear

7. Poor Wiring

Many homes have old wiring that may be causing a burning plastic smell. This problem can often be avoided by inspecting your home’s electrical wiring before purchasing it. If you are experiencing a burning smell and it is coming from your heater, this could indicate a serious electrical problem.

You should have the wiring checked to determine what is causing the smell. Sometimes after owning your new house for some time you will need to address issues with the builder who built it for you or share that information with them so they can deal with any problems that arise later on in their own time.

Turn off your heater immediately if you smell burning plastic and call a licensed HVAC professional to fix the problem when electrical wiring is damaged, cracked heat exchanger, or the blower motor overheating.

8. Someone is Burning Plastic Next Door

In some cases, the smell of burning plastic may be coming from your neighbor’s house. In this scenario, it could be a way to get rid of household waste.

Is The Of Smell Burning Plastic Dangerous?

The smell of burning plastic can be dangerous and cause a variety of respiratory issues. Burning plastic also produces carcinogens, which can be toxic to your health. If you are experiencing this smell, it is best to get out of the area and call emergency services.

What To Do If You Perceive The Smell Of Burning Plastic in Your House

Ensure Your Water Heater Isn’t Overheating

Water heaters need to be checked on regularly. You may not think about them often, but they’re an important part of your home. The smell of burning plastic is a sign that there’s an issue with the parts.

If you notice this smell, turn off your water heater and call the plumber right away. Water heaters can cause the smell of burning plastic, so it’s important to stay on top of their maintenance.

Replace Old and Faulty Electrical Appliances

It is important to replace old and faulty electrical appliances as soon as possible. Failing to do so can result in a fire hazard. Appliances that should be replaced include:

  • Fridges
  • Freezers
  • Ovens
  • Stoves
  • Dishwashers
  • Washers and dryers

Always Clean Your Fireplace/Wood Burner

It’s important to clean your fireplace/wood burner regularly, whether you use it often or not. If you don’t clean it, the soot and ash can build up and create a fire hazard.

In addition, if you don’t clean it properly, the smell of burning wood will be much stronger. The best way to clean your fireplace/wood burner is with a wire brush and soot remover.

Make sure to wear gloves and a mask when cleaning so that you don’t breathe in the dust and ash.

Check Your Electrical Appliances

It’s important to regularly check your electrical appliances for any problems that may cause a burning smell in your home. Electrical problems with appliances can cause a smoky odor, so it’s best to be proactive and inspect them periodically. Some common causes of this smell are:

Cutting off the power at the circuit breaker before you cut off the power at your house can help avoid an electrical fire.

If there is an electrical problem with your furnace, stop using it until a Carrier HVAC technician can inspect it and come up with a solution to fix the issue. Heating elements emit smoke and burning smells for a variety of reasons, so it’s important to be aware of the signs.


It’s summertime and the weather is hot. Unfortunately, that means your house may be smelling like burning plastic. This smell can come from a variety of sources, but here are eight possible explanations:

A burning smell coming from your vents may be caused by a clogged filter. If the smell is constant, you may have a problem with your evaporator coil or low refrigerant level.

You can also check for an oversized motor (if it’s running too hot) and loose connections or wiring in the AC system.

Check to see if there are any lights on the inside of your home that shouldn’t be lit up — these could indicate a leak in your HVAC system, which should be repaired as soon as possible so that smoke doesn’t escape into other areas of the house when the unit is turned on again.

If none of those fixes works, then it’s time to call somebody who knows what they’re doing; otherwise, consider having them come out and assess the situation before calling HVAC experts


Does Electrical Fire Smell Like Burning Plastic?

An electrical fire can cause a burning plastic smell. If you are using an electric heater, there is a chance it’s emitting this burning plastic smell. If you can’t figure out what is causing the burning plastic smell, an electrician should look into it.

The electrician might be able to track down where the issue is coming from in your house. Flip all of the switches in your home to make sure there are no electrical circuits running that could cause a fire or other issues with your home

What Does It Mean when You Smell Plastic Burning?

When you smell plastic burning, it means that the plastic is melting. This can be dangerous, as the fumes from melted plastic are toxic. If you smell plastic burning, you should:

1. Ventilate the house by opening windows and doors.

2. Turn on fans if needed to speed up ventilation and air circulation.

3. Make sure A/C is turned off, as this can cause a chance of spreading the smell.

4. Try to find the source of the smell and extinguish it if possible.

5. Call 911 if you cannot find the source of the smell or if it is causing any physical discomfort.

Can Burning Plastic Smell Make You Sick?

Yes, burning plastic can make you sick. The smell of burning plastic is often associated with a chemical called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs are known to cause a number of health problems, including cancer. If you smell burning plastic and experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical help immediately:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Difficulty breathing

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