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Old 03-10-2011, 10:13 AM   #1
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Smell from duct


I am getting a very occasional burning smell coming out of the heating registers in my own house. I have a Bryant infinity 355MAV condensing furnace which is the same as the Carrier weather maker high efficiency furnace. I installed it about 17 years ago. This model had just come on the market and I had seen the write ups in the HVAC news rag that I subscribed to at the time.
Getting back to the smell, it is similar to how an electric furnace smells when you turn it on for the first time in the season. Like dust burning off the elements. I have noticed it once in a while for a few years but seems to be getting a bit more pronounced. I know these furnaces have foil covered insulation glued to the inside beside the heat exchanger and though this might be falling off and resting against the exchanger. I remember having to re-install some of this insulation on other furnaces before I installed them right from the factory. Any thoughts on the smell before I start ripping into it? Have been retired from the trade for seven years, besides its tough to get motivated to work on your own equipment.

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Old 03-10-2011, 10:22 AM   #2
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Smell from duct


Welcome donystoy, to the best DIY'r site on the web.

Could be the motor starting to fail, they have a very distinctive odor.

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Old 03-10-2011, 01:10 PM   #3
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Smell from duct


Thanks for the reply. Funny you should mention the motor as I was thinking of replacing it last year since I thought it was making more noise. Turned out to be caused by me changing the return system a bit when installing hardwood floors. Just figured that these motors don't last forever so might be the time. This smell has been showing up occasionally for such a long time that I kind of dismissed it been the motor. Think what I will do is next time I smell it I will shut everything down and stick my nose into the fan area.
Have the house up for sale so really did not want to spend too much although it would probably be a selling feature if I replaced the whole furnace. I can still get a good deal on parts and furnaces but you get lazy when it comes to your own house.

Edit: Thanks for the welcome

Last edited by donystoy; 03-10-2011 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:46 PM   #4
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Smell from duct


Have you ever had your ducts cleaned? Dust build up will also cause such a smell when hot.
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Old 03-10-2011, 02:06 PM   #5
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Smell from duct


Ducts are actually quite clean. Did a lot of cleaning a year or so ago when I was doing some minor changes. At that time I replaced the Honeywell air cleaner elements with pleated filters and completely vacuumed out around the fan. I have done a lot of renovations over the years but I always cover the return grills with an old "T" shirt as a filter or isolate the area.
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