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What's That Smell Coming From My AC?

When a bad smell starts coming out of your AC, it can feel like a helpless and unavoidable situation. No matter where you attempt to retreat, the smell follows you through air ducts and vents. There are several things that can cause your air conditioner to emit a smell, and different smells point to different issues. So, to rid your home of the stench, you must first decide what exactly your AC smells like. Here are a few unpleasant aromas and what they mean for your air conditioning system.

Musty and Mildew: If your AC smells like a high school boy’s locker room or an old toolshed that hasn’t seen the light of day in decades, it’s likely a sign of excess moisture in your home. The smell you’re experiencing is the result of bacteria and mildew growing and thriving in your home’s moist air. You may simply have an indoor humidity problem, which can be solved with a nifty dehumidifier.

If you experience a gross, musty smell during the winter, especially in the beginning of the season when you first begin using your heating system, you may have slightly a different problem on your hands. Sometimes, after your heater sits idle for a while, cranking it back up sends it into defrost mode, creating a damp environment. This, too, will allow potentially harmful microorganisms to inhabit your home, not only creating a bad smell, but also diminishing your indoor air quality. The best way to prevent this kind of smell in your home is by getting preventative maintenance for your AC before each heating and cooling season.

Burning or Electrical: If the smell coming from your AC smells like burning plastic or rubber, you may have an electrical problem. Poor electrical connections can cause the coating on wires to melt, emitting a burning smell and potentially leading to equipment damage, or worse: an electrical fire. If this is the kind of smell you’re experiencing, shut your system off completely and call an electrician.

If you haven’t used your heating system in a while, you may experience a burning smell when you first turn it on. This happens when dust piles up in your system and your heater has to burn it off. The smell should dissipate after a few moments.

Putrid and Sour

If your AC is stinking up your entire house with a putrid, rancid smell, you might have a pest problem on your hands. If a critter crawled up into your air ducts and unfortunately didn’t make it out in time, it could be the smell of decay that is drifting through your home. You’ll want to call a pest control company to take care of things before the stench becomes unbearable.

Keep Your Air Smelling Fresh!

No matter what type of smell your AC may emit, the best way to keep your home’s air fresh and clean all year long is with regular preventative maintenance from Phoenix Air. In addition to saving your nose from a smelly house, AC maintenance helps to boost your system’s efficiency, lowering your energy bills and more. Sign up for our Energy Saving Club today and get your AC the maintenance it needs.

If you encounter an HVAC emergency and need quick, reliable service, contact our skilled West Palm Beach technicians today!