Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell?

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Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell?

Your air conditioning unit is meant to regulate the temperature in your home to keep you and your loved ones comfortable. However, some parts of the system can fail, leading to cooling problems and awful odors. If your AC system emits unpleasant odors whenever you switch it on, there are several possible explanations. Here are some of the common AC odors and how to eliminate them.

1. Musty Odors

This odor indicates that mildew or mold is growing in your air conditioning unit or ductwork. An AC system does not just control your home’s temperatures, but it also controls the humidity levels of your living space by eliminating excess moisture from the air. When the moisture doesn’t drain properly, it can build up in your AC unit or ducts, leading to mildew or mold growth.

The first step in solving this problem is identifying any drainage issues or leaks that might be causing the moisture buildups. Next, have an HVAC professional examine and professionally clean the unit and your ductwork to eliminate the odor and prevent future problems.

2. Carbon or Gunpowder Smell

When there’s something smoking in your home, the visual signs and scent are unmistakable, and you can easily trace them to their source. However, when your AC unit’s circuit board shorts, resistor pops, or motor burns out, the system will smell more like gun powder or carbon than normal fire-made smoke. If you notice a gunpowder smell when you run your air conditioning unit, you might be dealing with electrical malfunctions or mechanical problems. The best solution is to contact your AC service immediately to inspect your unit before it develops more problems.

3. Exhaust Fumes Odors

Air conditioning units are usually powered by electricity instead of gas. However, some fluids are located in the engine, and some other parts of the AC unit can leak, producing exhaust fumes smell. If you notice an exhaust smell when running your air conditioning unit, contact your AC professional to inspect the system and make the necessary repairs.

4. Skunk Smell

If you notice a skunk smell when your AC unit is running, you might be dealing with a gas leak. Generally, gas is odorless, but manufacturers add Methyl Mercaptan to create an unmistakable, strong smell of rotten eggs or sulfur that alerts people of a possible leak. When there’s a gas leakage, the gas might find its way to your ductwork, causing a skunk odor in your home. The gas can put your entire household at risk, so you should evacuate your home and contact your HVAC contractor immediately to address the issue.

5. Rotten Eggs Odors

Pests in your ventilation system may cause a rotten egg odor. Sometimes birds or rodents can crawl into your AC unit to shelter from harsh weather elements and get stuck in the vents. When the animals die, the decomposing carcasses will produce a foul odor. Once you turn your AC unit on, the smell will get distributed in the entire house. Duct cleaning is the best solution to this awful odor. Pest-proofing your home can also prevent such problems in the future.

6. Dirty Socks Stench

The primary cause of this unpleasant odor is standing water in your unit’s condensate system. Water can collect in your AC system due to a faulty condensate pump or a clogged drain line. Dirty socks smell can also indicate that there’s mold growing in your ductwork or on the evaporator coils. If you notice this unmistakable stench of stinky feet or dirty socks, contact your HVAC contractor to drain the condensate pan and clean the evaporator coils.

7. Sewer Odors

Many sewer lines usually smell the way they do due to methane gas. If you notice a methane gas odor in your residential property, you might be dealing with a ruptured sewer line near your ductwork. This gas can seep into the ductwork and spread throughout your house, causing an unpleasant odor. Besides, methane gas is flammable and harmful in large quantities. Contact your plumbing expert immediately to fix the problem to eliminate the stench and avoid sewage floods in your home.

Wrapping Up

AC odors are a common problem among many homeowners, and identifying the culprits can be daunting. Luckily, the common odors highlighted above can give you some insight into the problem affecting your system. If you notice any of these odors, contact an AC expert from Bruce Heating & Air to examine your unit, find the main culprit, and fix the issue. Our licensed experts are conversant with different AC models and brands and will solve the issue with professionalism.

We also provide heating, duct, custom welding, sheet metal fabrication, and new construction services to the residents of Kennewick, WA, and other surrounding regions. So whether you need AC maintenance, repairs, or upgrades, contact us now to enjoy our top-notch services.