Stuck trying to stop your electric fireplace from smelling like burning or gas?

Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve heard this. You wouldn’t believe how many people are in the same situation as you.

But the good news is that you’ve come to the right place to get this annoying issue fixed.

If your electric fireplace smells like burning or gas, chances are it’s brand new, it needs dusting, or there’s an electrical overload. A dirty chimney or a gas leak could also explain the issue.

Don’t worry, though. Keep reading to learn how to solve the problem!

Why Your Electric Fireplace Smells

We all love curling up next to the fireplace on a chilly winter evening. But there is nothing welcoming and cozy about a fireplace that reeks of burning, or worse, gas.

These smells are more than just a bit of an irritant. They are also a cause for concern. So, before you decide to layer up like an onion and turn your fireplace off for good, take a look at the following 5 reasons why fireplaces smell.

This list will help you see what’s the matter with your unit and what you should do to get rid of the stench.

#1 It Is Brand New

Is your electric fireplace new? Then the weird burning smell that is coming from it might not be any cause for concern. Now, it seems a little strange that something brand new would smell like burning. So, allow me to explain.

If your fireplace is brand new, it might give off a burning smell for the first few hours of use.

Most manufacturers will recommend that you first use the fireplace on a warm day. This is so that you can ventilate the house from the smell for a few hours.

Here are a couple of reasons why new fireplaces let off a bit of a whiff during their first use.

  1. It is burning off the chemicals or adhesives that were used to install the fireplace. This is commonly a metallic or chemical scent.
  2. It is burning off a layer of dust and dander that settled on the fireplace during storage. This is typically a burning, dusty smell.

Now that you know the cause of the smell, what are you to do about it? It is relatively normal for a brand-new fireplace to give off a burning smell. So, the best thing to do is…well, nothing at all. You’re going to have to just wait this one out.

But, if the burning smell is really getting under your skin, follow these quick steps:

  1. Turn the fireplace off.
  2. Ventilate your home.
  3. Turn the fireplace back on a warm day. Run the fireplace for a few hours while ventilating your home.
  4. After a couple of hours, turn the fireplace off. It should no longer smell the next time you turn it on. If it does, contact your local HVAC providers.

#2 It Needs Dusting

It has been a gorgeous summer and the fall was lovely too. You haven’t needed to turn your electric fireplace on for months now.

But the nights have begun to draw in, and you’ve just switched your fireplace on for the first time. The fire is warm and toasty, but you’re also greeted with a rather unpleasant burning smell.

Has your fireplace been out of action for a month or even longer? Well, it doesn’t take long for dust, dirt, and dander to build up around the light bulbs and even the entire unit. This, when heated up, creates a burning smell that is off-putting, to say the least.

What can you do about a burning smell that is trapped within the fireplace? Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Wait. The fireplace will stop giving off the smell once it has burned off the layer of dust. Continue using the fireplace for a couple of hours, the electric fire smells should disappear.
  • Clean the fireplace. If you cannot put up with the smell, you can have the fireplace professionally cleaned. This will eliminate the pong.
  • Continue using the fireplace. To prevent the buildup of dust on the fireplace, continue using it frequently. You should turn it on for a couple of hours at least once a week.
electric fireplace heater smells like burning
Your electric fireplace might need cleaning

#3 There Is an Electrical Overload

Here is a problem that requires your immediate attention. If your fireplace smells like burning, there could be an electrical overload. This could be the fault of a couple of things. Here are some of them:

  • You are using an extension cord to connect your electric fireplace.
  • There are too many wires plugged into your power outlet.
  • A fuse has blown.
  • The wires inside the fireplace are too hot. This is burning the insulation around the wires.

So, what can you do if you suspect your electric fireplace smells like burning because of an electrical overload? Here are a couple of things you should check and remedy:

  1. Never use an extension cord with an electrical fireplace. An extension cord does not have the capacity for a fireplace. The electrical components in it will begin to break down.
  2. Thoroughly inspect your wiring. Look for darkened areas and blemished points in the insulation.
  3. Get an electrician to inspect a hardwired electrical fireplace. They should check the condition of the wires that run through the walls of your home.
  4. If the burning smell continues after you have made the necessary changes stop using it. You should contact the manufacturer of the fireplace or an HVAC technician.

#4 The Chimney Is Dirty

Another reason why your electric fireplace smells like burning plastic or gas could be because the chimney is dirty. This is true regardless of whether you own a vented fireplace or not.

Here are a few reasons why a dirty chimney might be the issue:

  • Your electrical insert is covered in residue. This residue could be creosote or soot deposits. These deposits heat up when the fireplace is on and begins to smell.
  • Your vent needs cleaning
  • There are decomposing materials or possibly an animal in the flue

Now that you know that a dirty chimney could explain why your electric fireplace smells like burning, try these simple steps to avoid this situation from happening again:

  1. Clean your vent.
  2. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
  3. Check for any decomposing materials or possibly an animal in the flue. (It is not unusual for rodents or birds to make their way inside).
  4. If you do not use your fireplace for months on end, have it inspected before you use it again for the first time.
chimney cleaner
Have your chimney inspected at least once a year

#5 There Is a Gas Leak

Is there a smell of something decaying or rotten eggs coming from your fireplace? Then there is a chance that there is a gas leak.

If you suspect this could be the case, I recommend that you do the following right away:

  • Turn the gas off.
  • Turn off the fireplace.
  • Open all the windows and doors in your home to ventilate it well.
  • Evacuate your home and seek professional help.
  • Get a professional to turn the gas off before you enter the home.

Now, how can you prevent a gas leak from happening in the first place? Here are a couple of ways:

  1. Call a professional and have your fireplace inspected regularly.
  2. Have your fireplace cleaned professionally periodically.
  3. If your fireplace has been out of action for more than 6 months, have it inspected before you use it again-

Conclusion

There’s nothing more annoying than having an electric fireplace that smells like burning or gas. There is no way of ignoring it, and it just seems to get worse.

Thankfully, this article has listed 5 reasons why your fireplace has a case of the whiffs and what you can do to fix it.

Has this article been helpful to you? Then make sure you check out some of our other articles and free guides on our website. You could even sign up to our email list.

Have a great day!

-Craig