Where Are Those Air Conditioner Smells Coming From?

woman plugging nose due to smelly air conditioner

The ideal smell that an air-conditioned room should have is normal. That is, there shouldn’t be any distinct smell coming from your cooling unit at all. However, in some cases, your air conditioner may emit an odd, unpleasant, or offensive smell that accompanies the cool air. If this is the case, then it is a clear indicator that something is wrong with your air conditioner, and it should be checked by a professional right away. This article includes several air conditioner smells, the causes behind them, and what can be done about this problem.

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What Is Causing That Air Conditioner Smell?

Read on to find a few of the common odors your air conditioner is likely to produce.

Air Conditioning Unit Smells Like Mold

image of mold that was on air conditioner

One of the most commonly reported smells that homeowners experience is a musty odor, reminiscent of mold. This can be typically traced to the accumulated water in the ducts, drain pan, or drip lines. The water and the indoor temperature create an environment where mold, mildew, or fungus grow and thrive. As a result, a dingy smell permeates your home.

The stale air in your home can also be an indicator that you have dirty HVAC air filters. If the area you live in is hot and humid, moisture can develop and build up in your air conditioner’s air filters. This usually happens when you haven’t turned on your system for some time. Therefore, the stale air is distributed throughout your home when you switch it on again.

Solution: Empty the drain pan at regular intervals. If the smell doesn’t go away even after doing this, call an HVAC expert to inspect your central air conditioner, the ductwork, and the lines. Water accumulation in your system could also mean there is a leak. Therefore, it is beneficial to have your system checked to determine why water isn’t draining properly. Bear in mind that yearly air conditioner maintenance is important to ensure these problems do not happen to your air conditioner in the first place.

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Air Conditioner Produces A Cigarette Smoke Odor

If someone smokes tobacco in your home, the air conditioner will pull in the smoke particles, and they will get trapped in the air filter. This will happen every time someone smokes in your home. However, turning on your system can cause these particles to loosen, and they’ll end up mixing with the conditioned air. They will be released via the vents, and you’ll smell cigarette smoke even when no one is smoking.

Solution: Open a window the next time you’re going to smoke inside your house to minimize the cigarette smell. Consider stepping out of your house to smoke as well. Remember to clean your air conditioner every 7 to 14 days. Do this by wiping off any dirt and particles present on its surface. Make sure to schedule yearly air conditioner maintenance as well. It is recommended that you do this every spring.

Air Conditioner Emits A Burning Smell

image of air conditioner electrical wires

A burning smell around your house could be because an air conditioner component is actually burning. A damaged cable, wire, or motor could be the cause. Other times, it could be because you haven’t turned on your air conditioner for a long time, and doing so exposed the dust buildup inside it to high temperatures, causing the burning smell. Do not fret, as this smell should disappear soon. If it doesn’t, switch off the system right away and call a professional HVAC technician immediately.

Solution: Never conduct a DIY repair on your air conditioner that’s emitting a burning smell. Instead, hire a professional HVAC technician to assist you.

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Rotten Egg Smell Coming From Air Conditioner

A dead animal in your air conditioning system could cause a rotten egg smell to circulate throughout your home. A body’s decomposition results in the release of gases that have a foul, rotten stench. Small animals like birds and rodents could have gotten inside your air conditioning unit and died there. If so, a rotten egg smell will circulate throughout your home.

Solution: Look for the dead animal in your system and ducts. The dead animal needs to be carefully removed and your system sanitized to ensure that all traces are eliminated. If the area is hard to reach, contact a reliable HVAC tech to help you. They have the right tools and experience to check, clean, and sanitize your system. They will also ensure that it is pest-proof, so it does not happen again.

Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

Methyl mercaptan depicting natural gas leakA gas smell should never be ignored, as the smell might be caused by an actual gas leak. The gas itself doesn’t have any scent, so gas manufacturers add methyl mercaptan to it. This chemical produces a rotten cabbage smell that acts as a warning sign that a gas leak is occurring. Keep in mind that methyl mercaptan is an irritant. Exposure can cause skin and eye irritations, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and respiratory problems. Prolonged exposure can also be fatal.

Solution: Turn off the gas supply the moment you suspect that gas is leaking. Open the windows to ensure proper ventilation. After that, evacuate your home and contact a reliable HVAC contractor immediately. Remember that gas is easily ignited, so do not light up anything while the smell of gas still lingers.

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An air conditioner experiencing problems could lead to it emitting various smells. Some of the odors are harmless, while others should never be neglected. They could point to some severe and potentially lethal problems. Some smells can be removed by cleaning and replacing the filter, whereas some need to be checked by a professional HVAC technician.

Do not neglect any odors your air conditioner produces. In most cases, having the issue resolved immediately will ensure that health problems are prevented. It will also help keep you from having to spend on expensive repairs or replacements in the future.

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Point Bay Fuel offers high-quality HVAC services in Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey. We have professionally certified technicians for all your heating and cooling needs, including air conditioner tune-ups, furnace repairs, mini-split installations, and boiler replacements. Each of our friendly techs has extensive knowledge and years of experience to service any HVAC make and model safely, correctly, and promptly.

Point Bay Fuel guarantees one of the most affordable and competitive HVAC service rates in the area. We can help improve your indoor air quality, comfort, and energy efficiency with our maintenance services. Our techs can recommend the best and most budget-friendly solutions if you need an HVAC repair or replacement system. Your satisfaction is our priority, so all our services are guaranteed. To schedule a service appointment, give Point Bay Fuel a call today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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