Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Bad? | Spurk HVAC

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Bad?

Woman Experiencing A Bad Smell From Air Conditioner

Our air conditioner is meant to bring us relief from the heat, but sometimes turning it on can lead to unpleasant smells. Believe or not, the type of smell can actually give us insight into problems that are affecting our system.

What Makes An Conditioner Smell Bad

Air conditioners are made up of many distinct parts, some of which may fail from time to time. The common issues can be easily identified by unique smells that make requesting servicing an easier task. Be on alert for these common odors:

Dirty Sock Smell

This smell is caused by dust in your evaporator coil that makes a good start for mild and bacteria to flourish in humidity. In some instances the coil simply needs to be cleaned, while in others a replacement coil is needed, an easy task for a professional.

Rotten Egg Smell

This smell is caused by dead animals that may have climbed into your outdoor unit for warmth that are now decomposing. As cool air is being brought into your home, so is the smell. The solution is to have a certified technician remove the offender as it requires taking apart and cleaning your unit.

Mildew Smell

When you start to smell mildew, this is a sign of excessive moisture buildup that can indicate a problem with your condensation drain. As water builds up in your system, mold is allowed to grow in the humid conditions. Mold is a common household allergen and negatively impacts indoor air quality, so this is a problem that should be addressed quickly. 

Exhaust/Skunk Smell

A gas leak or other fluid leaks are the cause of these unpleasant smells. The skunk-like scent is caused by methyl mercaptan, a gas with a scent similar to a skunk that is meant to indicate a gas leak. Whether you smell exhaust or skunk, this is a time to call a professional technician to address the problem. Be sure to follow standard gas leak procedures such as shutting off your unit, contacting your gas company, and evacuating your home until notified it is safe. 

Dirty Trash Smell

This smell is caused by dead animals that may have climbed into your outdoor unit for warmth that are now decomposing. As cool air is being brought into your home, so is the smell. The solution is to have a certified technician remove the offender as it requires taking apart and cleaning your unit.

Burning/Gun Powder Smell

If your air conditioner ever has a burning smell, this is an indication of a shorted circuit or problem with the fan motor or compressor. When this smell appears, turn off your HVAC system immediately with the breaker box. If the odor persists long after this step, contact the fire department and schedule an appointment with an HVAC professional to repair or replace your unit. 

All of these smells after problems you shouldn’t have to deal with for long. Call an an HVAC company like Spurk to assess your system, find the culprit, and fix the problem.