Air Conditioner Heat in Winter
There are a couple typical heating systems used here in the Wiregrass. The most popular is a heat pump. This type of heat reverses the air conditioner cycle and heats the inside air versus removing the heat, like we do during the hot months.
The other most common type of heat is electric heat. You can think of this as a toaster oven that the air goes through, picks up heat, and keeps you warm. This is a more expensive means of heat, so we try to keep this primarily as a backup source of heat.
The Smoke Smell
When we use electric heat for the first time during the cold months we often smell a strong burnt/ smoke smell. This is normal. During the months that it isn’t being used it collects dust and small debris. Then when we use the heat for the first time during the year we get this smell. It’s just the dust/ small debris burning off. Don’t be alarmed. As long as the smell fades and is not accompanied by smoke/ worsening smoke smell this is part of using electric heat each year.
Is This Normal?
As long as the smell does not continue to worsen and there is no obvious smoke, this is normal. Once the dust burns off, it’s gone and won’t continue through the heating season. If there is a worsening smoke smell, or if there is actual smoke, shut your unit off and call your HVAC expert. If the symptoms don’t immediately stop after shutting off the unit, call the fire department…this is not normal or common.