An air-conditioned room should smell normal. This means that there shouldn’t be unpleasant, strange, offensive or unusual air conditioner smells.
However, if your air conditioner does produce a very distinct stench, this is already a sure sign that something is up, and you should get your unit checked immediately. You can start by finding out what kind of smell your system is producing, what’s causing it, and what you can do.
In this article, we discuss some of the most common causes of odors that your air conditioner might be emitting.
What Is Causing That Air Conditioner Smell?
- 1 What Is Causing That Air Conditioner Smell?
- 2 Call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning For All Of Your HVAC Requirements
There are tons of reasons why your air conditioner smells, but this usually depends on what kind of smell the unit emits. Some of the most common odors people would complain about are:
- Moldy smell
- Rotten Egg Smell
- Cigarette Smoke
- Burning Smell
So, if you smell any of these odors, read on and find out how you can solve them.
Air Conditioner Smells Like Mold
An air conditioner that smells like mold is the most commonly reported smell by homeowners. And this musty smell can usually be traced back to the water accumulated in the unit’s drip lines, ducts, or drip pan.
So, why does this happen?
Well, first of all, there’s moisture. And we all know how moisture, along with ambient temperatures, can always create an environment that would allow molds, mildews, and fungi to grow. And you might not like to hear this, but these microorganisms are the reason why your air conditioner smells like mold.
Aside from the accumulated water, there might also be instances where you can trace the smell back to dirty or clogged filters.
If you live in areas that have high temperatures and humidity, moisture can easily develop and accumulate in air filters. So if you haven’t used your air conditioner in a while, the stale smell will immediately fill your room by the time you turn it on.
What’s the Solution?
To prevent your air conditioners from smelling like mold, try to empty the drain regularly. This should minimize the stale stench blowing around.
However, if this doesn’t eliminate the moldy smell, it’s probably best to get in touch with an HVAC technician to get your central air conditioner, its ducts, and its lines thoroughly inspected. This is because if water accumulates in your system, there’s a big possibility that there’s leakage.
So, having a timely check-up would help you figure out why the water doesn’t drain properly.
However, don’t wait until your air conditioner releases a moldy smell to call for a technician. You should know that tune-ups should be done annually to prevent this kind of issue from happening in the first place.
Air Conditioner Smells Like Cigarette Smoke
The next problem people encounter is that their air conditioner smells like cigarette smoke. But if you’re a smoker, then this is something you can expect to happen.
If someone at home is a tobacco user, the air conditioning system absorbs the tobacco particles through the air filter. This means that every time someone smokes at your home, the air conditioner will pull these smoke particles and then push them through the filter.
This should be alright for a while, as these particles would most likely just be trapped on the air filter. However, when more particles are accumulated, the next time you turn on the air conditioner, the particles will immediately loosen and be released into the air.
As a result, you would smell the odor of cigarette smoke even if there’s no one around smoking.
What’s the Solution?
There’s only one solution for this: to smoke next to an open window or simply step outside. This will help minimize the number of smoke particles that your air conditioner will absorb.
Aside from this, you need to clean and change the unit’s air filter every month. If you have time, clean the whole unit, too, even if it’s just once a week or once every two weeks. This will help wipe off any dust and particles present.
But the most important part that you should not forget is to always schedule air conditioner maintenance every year.
Burning Smell Coming From Your Air Conditioning Unit
If a burning smell is coming from your air conditioning system, there are two possibilities why this would happen:
- The first one would be that something is burning inside, like a wire, a motor, or a cable.
- The second one is that it might be because you haven’t used your AC for a while. Dust accumulated can smell like burning once you turn on your air conditioner.
So, how do you know which of the two is the cause?
Well, if it’s the second reason, you should not worry about a thing because this is usually temporary.
However, if the smell lingers in the air, there’s a big possibility that something is burning inside. When it’s the second one, turn off your unit immediately and call an expert to have it checked or repaired.
What’s the Solution?
In this situation, we would highly advise you not to make any attempt to repair your air conditioner. Always call an HVAC technician to help you, and it’s probably best to always stay on schedule for the annual check-ups and maintenance repairs of the unit.
Rotten Egg Smell Coming From Air Conditioner
If your air conditioner blows air that smells like rotten eggs, then it’s most likely that an animal is decomposing inside your system. As sad as it is, small animals like rodents, reptiles, and birds can find their way inside our unit and die.
When this happens, it’s impossible to know until the body starts to decompose and produce gases that smell rotten and foul.
What’s the Solution?
Once you detect the rotten egg smell, look for the dead animal in your air conditioner. Use a mask to minimize the odor you smell and use gloves to remove the animal from the system. Make sure that you remove all traces of the organic matter left behind and sanitize the whole area.
If the animal is in an area that’s hard to reach, it’s best to call an HVAC technician to handle the job. Also, regularly get your system checked, cleaned, and pest-proofed to prevent this from happening again.
Air Conditioner Gas Odor
Gas, in itself, doesn’t smell anything at all. However, gas manufacturers add a chemical called Methyl Mercaptan so that gas smells like rotten cabbage. This is one of the safe measures manufacturers do to keep homeowners safe.
So, when you start smelling gas odor, it’s definitely one thing that you should never ignore. This is because this could highly depict that gas is actually leaking inside your home.
If you get exposed to Methyl mercaptan, it can cause nausea, dizziness, headaches, and problems with the upper respiratory tract. It can also irritate your eyes and skin. Furthermore, if you stay in a home for an extended period where gas is leaking, then you can suffer a coma or probably die.
What’s the Solution?
When you start smelling gas, turn off the gas supply immediately and open the windows to provide ventilation. After that, evacuate your home and then call your gas company and HVAC contractor immediately.
While you’re inside, don’t try to light up anything or even turn on or off the lights. Just run outside and wait.
There are many reasons why an air conditioner produces certain odors. Some air conditioner odors may be harmless, but there are definitely those that you shouldn’t ignore, particularly those that lead to serious health issues.
Whatever is causing your air conditioner to smell, never ignore those odors. Whether you air conditioner would just need a simple cleanup or thorough repairs, it’s best to call a professional immediately.
This will not only prevent any health issues, but it can also help you avoid costly HVAC repairs and replacements.
Call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning For All Of Your HVAC Requirements
PFO Heating & Air Conditioning offers superior heating and cooling services in the Greater Princeton, NJ area.
Our certified technicians can provide you with excellent services. Some of the HVAC services that we offer include tune-ups, repairs, installations, replacements, and more. Every one of our technicians has outstanding knowledge and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.
PFO Heating & Air Conditioning offers the most competitive heating and cooling service costs in the area. Our HVAC maintenance services will improve your comfort, increase your system’s energy efficiency, and reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs.
Need your system repaired or replaced? We’ll recommend the best one for your home that fits within your budget. All our work is backed with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction.
If you wish to schedule a service appointment, give us a call today! We also offer in-home estimates at no cost at all.