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Why Does My AC Smell Funny?

Why Does My AC Smell Funny?

When you turn on your air conditioner, you expect cool, refreshing air to exit the supply registers. If you are instead greeted with the smell of mold, dirty socks, or sewage, you’ve got a problem! Here are some possible reasons why your AC smells funny along with the most likely causes.

The AC Smells Musty or Mildewy

Musty odors are quite common in Florida’s humid climate. When the smell comes from your air conditioner, it means high humidity is allowing mold to grow in the ductwork, in the condensate pan, or on the air filter. The best way to prevent excess humidity is to run a whole-house dehumidifier.

A Burning Smell is Coming from the AC

The smell of burning electrical components is never a good thing. This could be the smell of an overheating motor, burning wires, or shorted-out circuit board.

To avoid any risk, turn off the air conditioner, evacuate your home, and call the fire department. Once the house is deemed safe to reenter, call an HVAC technician to diagnose the problem.

The AC Smells like Dirty Socks

This unpleasant odor usually stems from dirty evaporator coils or stagnant water in the condensate pan. Cleaning the air conditioner and unclogging the condensate drain is usually enough to remedy the problem.

The AC Smells like Cigarette Smoke

When someone smokes in your home while the AC is running, the odor can accumulate on the filter and evaporator coil. Then, you’re stuck with the smell of stale cigarettes every time the air conditioner kicks on for the next few weeks. Changing the filter should help. Then, to prevent this from happening again, insist on guests smoking outside.

A Sewage Smell is Coming from the AC

You never, ever want to smell sewer gases in your home. One possibility is that the P-traps have run dry. Turn on all the faucets in your house at least once a month to prevent water in the traps from evaporating.

If that’s not the problem, you could have a ruptured sewer vent pipe or backed up sewer line near a return air register. Call a plumber and an HVAC technician right away to have the problem looked at.

The AC Smells like Garbage

Unfortunately, the most common cause of this smell is that a rodent or bird has died in your air ducts. The only way to get rid of the stench is to remove the rotting carcass. Turn off the AC, call an HVAC technician or pest management company, and open the windows for ventilation until help arrives.

The AC Smells like Rotten Eggs

Never ignore this smell—it could indicate a gas leak! Natural gas suppliers lace the otherwise odorless fuel with a chemical called mercaptan to make it smell like rotten eggs, thus alerting homeowners to the presence of a leak.

If you notice this tell-tale odor coming from your air vents, evacuate the building immediately, and open windows and doors on your way out. Then, turn off the gas supply at the meter and contact your gas company.

Call an HVAC Expert to Tackle Funny AC Smells

The best way to avoid a funny-smelling air conditioner is to keep up with preventative maintenance. If it’s too late this time, and your AC already smells funny, you need AC repair in West Volusia County. Rely on Jacob Heating & Air Conditioning for all your residential HVAC service needs. Our experience serving Florida homeowners dates back to 1921.

Contact us today at (386) 337-3502 to schedule the air conditioner services you need!

Looking for more advice on how to troubleshoot AC problems? Check out our other tips:

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