Electric fireplaces can emit a funny smell for several reasons. While this is highly uncommon, 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 two reasons.

Causes of Electric Fireplace Odor

  • Electrical Overload
    An electric overload can melt the insulation covering electrical wiring. This can cause your fireplace to emit a burning smell. An overloaded outlet can also be the culprit. When you have too many devices plugged into the same outlet or adapter, you place an overbearing load on your circuit. Typically, your fuse will blow or your breaker should trip. While these safety features are inherent on most models, a burning odor can be detected in rare cases.

    Using an extension cord is an unwise idea that can cause overheating/melting of electrical components. These cords are not made to handle the amount of energy required to power an electric fireplace. You shouldnever 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, you may want to have an electrician inspect wiring that runs between the walls of your home. They can run tests to ensure that all wires are functioning properly.
  • Dirty Chimney
    Whether you own a vented fireplace or not, the smell coming from your electric insert can be caused by creosote or soot deposits in an old chimney. When heated, this residue can emit an odor that wafts through your home. This can happen during hot summer months or instances where you operate your electric fireplace after being unused for extended periods of time.

    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 also not a bad idea to check for any decomposing materials/critters especially if you've had rodents in the past. I know it's not something that we like to think about, but sometimes the most unusual things can cause your electric fireplace to smell!