Lighting up your fireplace, only to be met by a scent of burning plastic, can be scary. Luckily, it usually is nothing to worry about, but why does your fireplace smell like burning plastic?
There are several reasons why a fireplace might smell like burning plastic; the fireplace could be damaged, there could be a lot of dust and debris that’s burning up, it could be the paint burning, or there might be air-quality issues within your home.
There are many possible culprits when it comes to smelly fireplaces. This article will go over all these different causes and explain what causes them and how you can fix them! We’ll also briefly cover whether or not it’s dangerous if your fireplace starts smelling like burning plastic!
Why Does My Fireplace Smell Like Burning Plastic?
It isn’t uncommon for fireplaces to give off a weird odor every now and then. One of the main complaints is that a fireplace starts smelling like burning plastic, and although it sounds like something’s seriously wrong, it usually isn’t the case.
Several harmless culprits could cause this weird scent, and none are that dangerous. In most cases, the weird scent will go away after a few hours, and you can expedite this process by simply opening a window and ventilating the room.
Paint is usually the cause of a weird smell when you light your fireplace for the first time. Your new fireplace is likely to still contain some factory paint or other (non-harmful) chemicals, so when you light it up for the first time, these will burn off.
This is also known as a process called out-gassing (you’re basically gassing out all the leftover chemicals). Usually, when factory paint is the cause of a bad smell, it will go away after a few hours. During those few hours, it’s best to open some windows to ventilate your room. If the bad scent persists after several hours, it’s best to contact an expert.
Dust And Debris
If your fireplace was left unused for some time, chances are a lot of dust and debris has filled up your chimney and firebox. When you finally light your fireplace again, you could be burning off the dust and debris, which could lead to a scent of burning plastic.
Air Quality Issues And Strong-Smelling Products
This one is mostly for gas fireplaces, which make use of the air inside your home. If the air quality inside your home is poor, a gas fireplace will enhance these scents, making them appear even stronger. This could be the cause of your fireplace giving off a scent of burning plastic.
This can, of course, be tested by taking away all strong-smelling products (furniture, candles, diffusers, etc.) to see if there’s still a bad odor. It’s best to do this one by one, so you can immediately narrow down the culprit.
Keep in mind that a strong-smelling product around your fireplace could just as well be the cause. It isn’t necessarily the air within your home; it could just as well be that new couch you bought that’s still giving off its scent.
Lastly, it could just be that your fireplace is damaged. This is usually the case when the bad odor doesn’t go away after several hours with all your windows open.
In most cases, it isn’t dangerous, but you should get it checked out by a fireplace expert. They will make sure to exchange any damaged components and fix up your fireplace!
How To Get Rid Of The Burning Plastic Scent
When your fireplace starts smelling like burning plastic, you should open your windows to ventilate the room. Within a few hours, the scent should be gone. If not, contact a local fireplace specialist to have it checked for any defects.
Like most bad odors, ventilation is key. Just open all your windows and let the wind blow away the bad scent. This should do the trick, but if you still smell that weird scent after some hours, it’s time to get some professional help.
There may be something wrong with your fireplace, either something harmless as some broken parts or something more serious like a small gas leak.
It’s also a good idea to get your fireplace checked out if the scent lingers around for too long or comes back after a while. It might be a dysfunctional damper, or there might just be a lot of dust and debris built up that need to be cleaned. With all of these issues, it’s generally best to have a professional look at them.
Is It Dangerous If Your Fireplace Smells Like Burning Plastic?
It isn’t necessarily dangerous if your fireplace smells like burning plastic. There are many harmless causes, but if the bad scent persists for several hours/days, it might mean your fireplace is damaged, in which case, you should have it checked out. There could potentially be a gas leak, which is dangerous.
Earlier in the article, we went over several causes of why your fireplace might be smelling like burning plastic. Most of these causes were harmless, and the worst that could happen was that your fireplace was damaged.
Now, wood-burning fireplaces can’t really be damaged like gas and electric fireplaces. With wood-burning ones, you don’t require gas or electricity, so there’s less that can go wrong.
As for gas fireplaces, if you smell something weird, try turning off your fireplace. Give everything some time to settle down, and if you still smell that weird scent, it might mean you have a small gas leak. This is a rather serious problem since gas leaks are really dangerous. Avoid anything that produces an open flame, and leave the house if possible.
Call an emergency service about a small gas leak and get it fixed as soon as possible.
Gas leaks are extremely rare, though. Gas (and electric) fireplaces are known to be the safest type of fireplace there is. But rare does not mean non-existent, so if you’re worried, it’s best to have it checked out.