Why Does My AC Smell Funny?

Why Does My AC Smell Funny?

If your AC is functioning properly, it should smell like…well, nothing. The purpose of air conditioning is to provide your home with cool, clean, odorless air. However sometimes things go awry and your nose can offer clues about what’s going on. When your AC starts to smell funny, don’t ignore it. Your household could be at risk. There are things you can do every year to prevent these AC problems. However, if you do experience any of the following AC odors, call a trusted HVAC service company ASAP:

AC Smells like Car Exhaust

When your AC starts to smell like a gas station, you probably have a leak in the refrigerant line. As the fluid leaks out, it comes in contact with the motor or other warm parts of the system, resulting in an exhaust smell. These fumes can be hazardous. Open all your windows and call an HVAC technician for an emergency repair.

AC Smells Like Fire or Gunpowder

If your unit hasn’t been used in a while, dust will collect over time. When you finally turn your AC on, dust can burn off and emit a burning smell. This is temporary and harmless. However, if the odor persists or becomes pungent, the electrical components inside could be burning. This situation is emergent. Immediately turn off the unit and call the fire department and an HVAC technician.

AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Unfortunately, small animals, such as rodents and lizards, can get trapped in various parts of your AC system. If a critter gets stuck in the equipment, ducts, or vents, they will eventually die. As the remains decompose, it will produce that all-too-familiar smell of rotten eggs every time you turn your AC on. The only way to get rid of the smell is to find and dispose of the carcass. 

AC Smells Like Dirty Socks

If your home suddenly smells like a gym locker room, there’s bacteria growing somewhere in your system. Sometimes it’s from standing water that isn’t draining properly. Other times it’s from dirty condenser coils. You can ask an HVAC technician to clean these parts, a practice that’s common in a yearly tune-up.

AC Smells Like Mold or Mildew

ACs control humidity levels in your home by removing excess moisture from the air. Sometimes this moisture gets trapped, resulting in mold and fungal growth within the system. This is a common problem in AC units and presents a serious air quality concern. Call a licensed technician to figure out why moisture is accumulating and what can be done to eliminate and prevent mold growth in the future.

AC Smells Like Skunk

Since natural gas is odorless, gas companies add methyl mercaptan to it to provide a distinct smell. This way, if there is ever a gas leak, you’ll be able to detect it. Methyl mercaptan smells similarly to skunk spray. So if you ever experience a strong skunk odor coming from your ductwork, you have a hazardness gas leak on your hands. Immediately turn off your gas supply, vacate the premises, and call in a technician.

If Your AC Smells Funny, Call Stephens Plumbing

Your nose knows. If you encounter odd or pungent smells coming from your AC, there’s a problem. Your unit could be dirty or damaged and your household could be at risk. Don’t delay — call Stephens Plumbing to resolve your air conditioning problem immediately. Our HVAC technicians are available 24/7 for all your AC emergencies. And if cost is a concern, we offer unbeatable prices and additional coupons and deals.