Air conditioning is an essential part of modern living, especially during steamy summer months. When you turn on your air conditioner, you expect nice, cool, refreshing air to enter your home. But sometimes, AC units release weird or concerning odors that make you worry if something’s wrong.
A strange smell coming from your air conditioner or ductwork might be no big thing — or it could signal a serious problem requiring immediate attention. When in doubt, switch off the unit and call an HVAC technician to take a look. In the meantime, learn about nine weird AC smells and what they might mean.
A rotten egg smell could suggest a gas leak in your HVAC system. Air conditioners don’t run on natural gas, but they utilize the same ductwork and blower that your furnace uses, which could be the real culprit for this smell. If you notice a rotten egg smell coming from the vents, turn off your air conditioner immediately, open the windows for ventilation and evacuate the house. Then, call an HVAC contractor promptly to check for a gas leak and perform the necessary repairs.
A musty smell usually indicates mold or mildew growth inside the AC unit or ductwork. These microorganisms multiply in damp, dark environments, making the evaporator coil and air filter prevalent places for mold to develop. To get rid of the musty smell and prevent further mold growth, hire an expert to clean your air conditioner, replace the filter and determine any other sources of moisture.
If an individual in your home smokes, chances are the AC will start smelling like stale cigarettes before long. The buildup of nicotine and other chemicals inside the unit, air filter and ductwork enters into your home every time the air conditioner runs. Change the filter regularly and schedule routine maintenance to help prevent this AC odor. Also, it would be wise to not smoke inside the house.
If you notice a sewage smell from your air conditioner, your plumbing or sewer system is likely to be the problem. The smell may be caused by methane gas emitting from a busted or clogged sewer pipe or a dry drain trap, which has found its way into the ductwork. Methane is dangerous, so if you smell a sewage-like AC scent, contact a plumber without delay.
A dirty air conditioner with a buildup of bacteria and fungi can emit a smell similar to that of dirty socks. This odor may be notably strong when you turn on the AC for the first time in the spring. Regular cleaning and maintenance helps prevent this odor from occurring.
If you smell a skunk-like odor coming from your AC unit, there may be a dead animal or animal waste inside the ductwork. It’s possible a sick or injured bird, rodent or other pest climbed inside an air duct during the winter, where it died and began decomposing. This is a health hazard, so get in touch with an HVAC technician to address the problem.
If your AC emits a burning smell, it’s possibly due to an electrical issue, such as a compromised motor, circuit board, compressor or wiring. If any of these parts overheat, they may emit a burnt, gun powder-like smell. To prevent permanent damage, turn off the AC immediately and call an HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the issue.
A smell similar to car exhaust could imply a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant is the chemical your air conditioner uses to extract heat from the indoor air and exhaust it outside. A leak can be a serious health and environmental hazard, so turn off your cooling system and call for help.
A chemical-like smell coming from your air vents could be traced to nearby vehicles, cleaning products, paints, adhesives or other toxins. If your AC blower fan motor is situated in the garage, even a car’s idling exhaust could mingle with the indoor air. These are serious concerns that could call for sealing the ductwork or even redesigning your HVAC system.
If you’re concerned about a weird smell arising from your air conditioner, turn to Atmostemp Service Experts for the repair you need. We use advanced diagnostic equipment to quickly and accurately define the problem. Then, we’ll explain the most cost-effective repair methods and offer strategies to prevent a recurrence. We believe in our excellent work so much that we back every repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to request air conditioning repair in Voorhees.
Student loan debt in the USA has been a growing issue for years. Today’s total student debt soars over $1.7 trillion, with the average college graduate owing $20,000 to $25,000. If you’re considering your educational journey or counseling someone who is, it’s important to weigh the... Continue reading
By Brian Sodoma, for Service Experts With autumn coming soon, homeowners will soon be getting ready for the cold months ahead. Cold weather puts additional demand on your HVAC system. To prepare your heating unit for the heavy work it will be doing, routine HVAC maintenance should be on your... Continue reading
The HVAC business is in a continuous state of change. With technological advancements and ever-important environmental concerns, the skills required of HVAC professionals are evolving faster than ever. Preparing to adapt and satisfy these new challenges is crucial for anyone hoping to join the... Continue reading
© 2023 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.