Air Conditioner Smells

air conditioner smells

What They Mean and What You Can Do

Air conditioner smells are not a good sign and not good for your health or indoor air quality. As an owner of a central air conditioner you might be familiar with a few common issues that may occur from time to time. If you turn on your air conditioner only to discover foul odors coming out, you may wonder why does the ac smell bad? An AC that smells bad, or toxic require urgent attention.

Air Conditioner Smells Like Dirty Socks

The cause for dirty sock smell is likely mold or mildew.  Dirty sock syndrome usually occurs when you switch from using your heater to AC at the start of summer. If your air conditioner is not draining properly then it is creating the perfect environment for bacteria or mold to grow. Dust and moisture could also be sticking on the ac evaporator coil or air filter. The dust provides a great base for mold and bacteria to grow in the humid environment when seasons change. The odor is not dangerous, especially when caught early. However, it does affect the indoor air quality in your home. Mold and mildew should be taken seriously as people with asthma or other respiratory issues may suffer from allergy symptoms such as wheezing and coughing.

The buildup may happen quickly if routine maintenance is not performed or if air filters are not regularly replaced.  A thorough professional cleaning should get rid of the smell. If the problem persists, especially with older systems where cleaning the coils can be tricky, you may need a new evaporator coil or air conditioner replacement.

Air Conditioner Smells Like Skunk

Most commonly, a skunk-like smell is a sign of a gas leak. The gas methyl mercaptan, smells like skunk spray, and it could be getting into your ductwork and circulating throughout your home. It may not be within the cooling system itself, there could be a leak elsewhere and the gas is seeping into your system. However, it can be dangerous,open your windows and contact a professional right away.  

Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

A sulfur or rotten egg smell most likely indicates a natural gas leak. On its own natural gas is odorless, but most utility companies will add an aroma to alert of a dangerous leak. If you smell the rotten egg odor in your home, immediate inspection is necessary. Open your windows, leave the home, and contact the gas company immediately. Exposure could lead to loss of consciousness and death. Another possible source for rotten egg odor is a dead animal. Rodents can take shelter in your system or air ducts and as they start decomposing the odor can travel through your HVAC system.

Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning

A burning odor could be caused by an electrical or mechanical issue with the fan or compressor, wiring issues or electrical component failure. Prolonged exposure to these fumes is not healthy.If the odor persists after the system running for 30 minutes, turn the system off and contact a professional HVAC technician to inspect and conduct AC repair.

Air Conditioner Smells Like Gun Powder

Like a burning smell, gun-powder smell may be due to a shorted-out circuit board or fan motor. With these smells posing similar dangers it is a good idea to contact an HVAC professional right away, before you continue operating the system.

Air Conditioner Smells Like Exhaust

Exhaust fumes are a result of fluid leaks from system components leaking onto a motor or another part of the system. To avoid a potentially dangerous situation, have your system professionally inspected as soon as possible. Anytime you suspect a fluid leak in your HVAC system it is best to let a professional assess and take care of the repair.

Indoor Air Quality Solutions

The EPA has labeled poor indoor air quality as a top health threat in the US. Accumulation of dust, dander, dirt, bacteria,and mold in your HVAC system can be responsible for many different health issues. Furthermore, indoor contaminants can get inside your HVAC system anddamage internal parts leading to frequent repairs and breakdowns. Luckily, most often air conditioner smells are due to a clogged or dirty filter and all you would have to do is clean or replace it. It also helps to ensure your condensate drain lines are not clogged and free of debris. If the odors persist give us a call at 818-341-3406 or contact us online. Covering up air conditioner smells with candles or aerosol sprays is not a good idea and can only worsen indoor air quality. Save yourself from potential health risks and damage to your HVAC and contact us to schedule maintenance or AC repair. We also offer indoor air quality solutions such as Air Scrubber by Aerus.

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