An infrared heater is also commonly known as a heat lamp. It works on the principle of conversion where electrical energy is converted to radiant heat which then moves from the high-temperature unit to a low-temperature body in the room.
It is like the heat from sunlight; the warmth you feel is the product of the light that hits your body. Infrared heaters can be electrical, propane, or natural gas.
Although they are not meant for central, whole-house heating, infrared heaters are a great option for supplementary heating during the cold.
Among the many questions asked by some homeowners who use the appliance is, why do infrared heaters smell? Some potential buyers of infrared heaters have also brought this question to our attention in a bid to find out if infrared heaters actually smell.
There’s no direct answer to this question, but we’ll break things down as much as possible to let you know what to look out for. Stay with us and you’ll get the answers you seek.
Do Infrared Heaters Smell?
There are many situations where infrared heaters produce some kinds of smell. On their own, infrared heaters do not smell, but when your heater starts to release a funny smell, you should know that something may be wrong.
Now let’s put this into proper perspective. If you notice a smell from an infrared heater you’ve not used in a while, it may be normal because of the presence of dust or clogging of the air filter.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore the smell though. You’d need to pay attention and be sure it is nothing more than a superficial smell.
Some other times, it may be the smell of burning wire, burning plastic or rubber, and other similar odors. This may indicate something worse and you should turn it off if you notice such a disturbing smell.
Bottom line is, there are many different smells and reasons why your infrared heater may smell. Knowing the reason for the smell is the best way to tackle it.
It may be normal sometimes but can also indicate a dangerous occurrence. You should be vigilant at all times and never ignore any smell until you’re sure it’s nothing serious.
What Does an Infrared Heater Smell Like?
An infrared heater should naturally smell like heat when you go close enough. If it’s made of plastic, it should also give off some smell of heated plastic. However, when it begins to smell differently, something may be wrong.
There are three main types of smell you can get from an infrared heater; smell of burning dust, the smell of burning wire, and smell of burning plastic.
Why Do Infrared Heaters Smell?
Infrared heaters will only smell if there’s something wrong. We’ve highlighted below the most, if not all, of the reasons that may make an infrared heater smell during operation.
This smell is even more pronounced because of the method of heating that infrared technology adopts, radiating heat through light as well as smell if any.
5 Reasons that cause smell in infrared heaters:
This is the most common reason for a weird smell coming out of your heater if you’re a seasonal user. Storing your infrared heater in the basement until the next winter season can cause a pile of dust in the unit.
When turned on, the unit will need some time to burn out the dust and this can produce a burning smell.
Plastic and rubber are two common materials for infrared heaters. Overheating can cause these units to burn and melt over time, leading to a burning plastic smell in the room.
This can be pretty disturbing and make your home uncomfortable. It can also start a fire if not checked.
3. Excessively heated plug
The plug of the electric infrared heater may also heat up for many reasons and give off a burning smell. Again, this can cause a fire if not attended to. The smell from the unit will be that of burning wire.
4. Surge Protector
This is another reason why using an infrared heater may smell. A low-quality surge protector may bow to the pressure of the power supply and also lead to burning which can cause a bad smell.
5. Heated Extension Cord
We always advise that you shouldn’t use extension cords to power your heaters because they may not have the strength to withstand the energy demands of heaters.
If your infrared heater is plugged into an extension cord and there’s a burning smell in your home, this may just be the source.
So, as a recap, we need to emphasize that an infrared heater may smell if you’re using it for the first time after a long time due to dust in the system.
Also, a heater may smell if plastic begins to melt due to overheating, or if wires, plugs or extension cords start to overheat and burn. Sometimes too, the first few uses of an infrared heater may produce some smell, but that’s not a reason to worry.
How To Get Rid of Infrared Heaters’ Smell?
Infrared heaters can produce certain smells that will make your indoor stay very uncomfortable. So, you must make it a priority to get rid of such smells when they are released.
The reason for the smell may differ and so will the manner in which you deal with it.
4 Effective Ways to Get rid of Infrared Heater’s Smell
1. Run New Units on the Highest Level
If it’s a new unit producing the smell, you’d need to run it on its highest level and speed to quickly release all the smell that comes with a new unit.
You may have to do this for a few hours or even an entire day before the smell disappears.
2. Open Doors and Windows
If it’s a new unit, you can do this along with running at its highest speed. The smell would need avenues to leave the room and opening your windows or doors will do.
You should also be prepared to lose some heat in the process. This will also work if it’s an old unit you haven’t used in a while and the dust is burning out.
3. Turn off the Unit for Sometime
If it’s a melting plastic, burning wire or plug, or even a burning extension cord, causing the smell, the first thing you should do is to shut it down.
This will prevent further damage before you go on to get rid of the smell by opening the door or window or even taking the appliance outside for the smell to dissipate.
4. Use Air Fresheners
This, for us, is the last resort. The other options discussed above should help you deal with the issue. These air fresheners can be used if the smell persists.
They can be made from natural items like lemon or can be applied as essential oils using diffusers. Supermarket and branded air fresheners can also be used if the smell persists.
So, the next time you notice a smell from your infrared heater, you should already know what to do. It can be normal or may also be a sign that something dangerous is happening.
The key is to react appropriately and do what is needed to ensure the safe and convenient use of your heater. If your unit is not new, there’s no way the smell is normal.
And even in some cases, a smell from a new unit may just be an indication of inferior quality. Bottom line is, never ignore the smell from an infrared heater.