Electric fireplaces can emit a funny smell for several reasons. While it's not common, some homeowners do experience this from time to time. If you've noticed a funny smell coming from your electric fireplace, it's likely due to one of these reasons.

Causes of Electric Fireplace Smell

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Electrical Melting or Burning

An electric overload can melt the insulation that covers electrical wiring. This can cause your fireplace to emit a burning smell.

Having too many things plugged into the same outlet or using an extension cord is an unwise idea. Extension cords can cause overheating or melting of electrical components.

Extension cords are not made to handle the amount of energy required to power an electric fireplace. You should never use an extension cord to connect your electric fireplace. It is a serious fire hazard!

To remedy this problem, inspect all wiring thoroughly. Look for any darkened areas or points where the insulation is blemished.

If you own a hardwired electric fireplace, have an electrician inspect wiring that runs in the walls of your home. A certified electrician can run tests to ensure that all wires are functioning properly.

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Electrical Overload

The heat resistant chemicals and plastics used in outlets, wiring insulation, or circuits can, when overheated, produce a smell. Some say it smells fishy, or like urine, or metallic. 

You should give immediate attention to this smell. It means that something is being overtaxed and should be addressed to avoid risk of fire.

Be sure to plug the fireplace directly into the outlet rather than a power strip or extension cord. Inspect wiring in the outlet and on the fireplace (or hire an electrician) to make sure insulation and wiring is intact.

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If the electric fireplace has not been used for a while or has accumulated dust, the burning smell could be the heating elements burning off the accumulated dust particles. This smell should dissipate after some time as the dust burns away.


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Residue from Manufacturing

Sometimes, new electric fireplaces may emit a peculiar smell when first used. This can be attributed to manufacturing residues or coatings on the heating elements or other components, which burn off when the unit is heated. This smell should go away after a few uses.

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Foreign Objects

Occasionally, foreign objects or debris might find their way into the electric fireplace, such as insects, leaves, or other materials. When the unit is turned on, these objects can come into contact with the heating elements, causing a burning smell. In such cases, it's important to turn off the fireplace, unplug it, and carefully remove the object or debris.

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Dirty Chimney

If you installed an electric fireplace insert in a converted wood-burning or gas fireplace, you might be smelling the past. The smell coming from your converted electric insert can be caused by creosote or soot deposits in an old chimney. This can happen in both vented and ventless units.

When heated, this residue can emit an odor that wafts through your home. You might notice the smell when you turn on your fireplace after not using it for a while. You might also smell it on hot summer days when your fireplace isn't even in use.

It's important to remember that you should have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. This helps prevent any fire hazards that can be caused by soot deposits in the flue.

It's important to remember that you should have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. This helps prevent any fire hazards that can be caused by soot deposits in the flue. Debris in the chimney can also cause smells. A regular cleaning also helps with this problem.

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