Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Bad?

Posted on: July 5, 2016

5 Reasons Why Your AC Stinks (& How to Fix It)

Just picture it: it’s a hot North Carolina day, and all you want to do is come to the cool relief of your air conditioned home. But when you walk in the door, you’re greeted by an unpleasant odor that does not give you the refreshed, relaxing feeling you were hoping to get from your home’s AC!

If your air conditioner smells bad, there could be a few issues at play, depending on the type of odor coming from your unit.  Learn more about what different smells can mean when they come from your air conditioning and how you can alleviate the issue in your home ASAP.

If Your Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

Typically, we notice the smell of stinky socks or feet when dealing with a dirty or clogged air conditioner. The odor comes from sitting water that is not draining properly and thus collects and begins to smell. A thorough, professional cleaning can resolve the issue.

If Your Air Conditioner Smells Like Exhaust Fumes

Your air conditioner isn’t gas powered, so oftentimes people are concerned about where this type of smell could be coming from. However, there are fluids in the engine and other parts of your air conditioner which can leak out, causing this exhaust fume odor. When dealing with fluid leaks, call a professional to handle the situation.

If Your Air Conditioner Smells Like Gun Powder

If your unit’s fan motor or circuit board shorted out, your air conditioner may emit a burning scent that smells like gun powder. To eliminate the odor, keep your unit functioning properly, and avoid any risk, it’s best to call an HVAC contractor to fix the issue.

If Your Air Conditioner Smells Like Skunk

For the most part, a skunk-like scent indicates a gas leak in your system. Specifically, methyl mercaptan, a gas that smells a lot like a skunk’s spray, could be getting into your ductwork and causing this smell in your home. This is a dangerous gas that can put your family at risk, so we suggest evacuating your home and contacting a heating and cooling company as soon as possible to address the problem.

If Your Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your home smells like spoiled, rotten eggs, the cause of the odor is often a dead animal. Birds and rodents can take shelter in your air duct during the winter, where they can often die and begin to decompose. That’s why when you turn on your air conditioner, a horrible odor circulates throughout your home. Your ducts will need to be professionally cleaned to get rid of any animal remains and remove the smell.

If Your Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

This is probably the most common smell we hear complaints about from our neighbors in Raleigh and Durham. If you smell a moldy odor, chances are that mildew or fungus have begun to grow in or near your air conditioner. This makes sense, since air conditioners remove excess moisture from your home in addition to cooling it. When that moisture is unable to drain properly, mold grows easily in areas with remaining moisture. Additionally, dirty filters can give off the scent of mildew. Calling an HVAC technician who is trained in handling mold, mildew, and fungus in these situations is your best bet for getting rid of the smell and improving your home’s air quality.

Call Air Experts to Get Your AC Back to Normal ASAP

If you live in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, or any surrounding areas, the cooling professionals at Air Experts can get rid of the odor coming from your air conditioner right away. You can contact us online or call us at 919-480-2727 to schedule an appointment or to get answers to any questions you may have.

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We were able to schedule a visit within three days for a non-critical air duct cleaning. Service tech arrived on time, provided excellent service, and solid advice for keeping our ducts clean. Thank you.

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