Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell?

Most residents in Burbank and the surrounding areas depend on an air conditioner to cool their homes over the summer. We all want to enjoy perfect temperatures and humidity, especially when it’s too hot inside the house. Air conditioners come in handy as they not only cool homes, they also help with indoor humidity.

However, sometimes they can disappoint you. An air conditioner can experience a malfunction, causing it to operate differently than usual. Some people who have experienced such cases report a typical sign – a foul odor. So, have you ever wondered why your air conditioner smells so bad? What might be the cause of that, and how would you handle such an issue?

There are many reasons why your air conditioner may be emitting a foul odor. Sometimes it might be an issue with the AC, while other times, it can arise from other sources within the house. Some of the triggers come from negligence, while others are part of why you should schedule frequent maintenance with Air Max HVAC.

Reasons for a Smelly Air Conditioner

Before we even touch on the possible reasons for a foul smell from your air conditioner, it is essential to note that the kind of smell matters. You can get different odors from your air conditioner, and they all indicate various underlying problems. This is the first self-diagnosis that you should do before calling Air Max HVAC for professional help.

It’s crucial to notice that detecting these odors and finding out the probable cause can be an essential step. Do not try and do any DIY fixes or repairs if you are not a certified technician because it may cause worse damage. If you suspect your AC has a major issue, call the experts to help with the problem. The following are the different smells that can come from your air conditioner.

1. Mildew, Most, and Must

An excessive amount of moisture or humidity in your air conditioner will cause mold or mildew to grow in your ductwork. This will result in an emission of a musty odor. You will need to call professional technicians to fix this issue before it gets worse. Make sure to catch this kind of problem early so that you don’t have to replace the entire air conditioner.

Air Max HVAC will analyze your situation and provide different solutions. Some of the actions to take for preventing the moisture and mildew problems include:

  • Fix any water leakages
  • Improve your drainage system
  • Schedule HVAC tune-ups
  • Replace air filters

It would be best if you considered covering up any soil in your basement as well. Another option to protect your household from mildew is to get a dehumidifier. You would connect it to your HVAC system so that it can get rid of the excess moisture in your home.

2. Cigarette Smoke

This problem is due to individuals smoking in your home. Unless you have a smoking room, then you should only permit smoking outdoors. When you smoke inside the house, the smell from the smoke will accumulate in the evaporator coil and filter. This will result in stale cigarette smoke every time you turn your air conditioner on.

You can solve this problem simply by smoking outdoors. You might also want to replace those filters so that the new ones can emit clean air. In cases where you unwillingly get some cigarette smoke indoors, scheduling a professional cleaning and tune-up with Air Max HVAC would be a good idea.

3. Sewage

There are two possible culprits behind this kind of smell from your air conditioner. One common reason is a dry P-trap which allows sewer gases to back up into your home. The simple solutions to this problem are either running the water in your sinks to fill up the P-trap or getting a seal to keep off sewage smells.

Other triggers that cause sewage smell include a ruptured sewer vent pipe and a backed-up sewer line. A sewage smell is pretty dangerous inside a home, and you need to call a professional HVAC expert to fix this before things get ugly.

4. Rotten Egg/Sulfur

Whenever you get a rotten smell in your house, it’s a significant alarm because it means there is a potential gas leak. Natural gas is usually odorless, but many manufacturers add mercaptan to give the gas the rotten egg smell. Another indicator for a possible gas leak is a path of discolored shrub or grass. The grass will turn a soft orange or brown color.

The proper action to take when you notice a rotten egg smell from your air conditioner is to:

  • Avoid operating all electronics
  • Don’t turn on any matches or lighters
  • Turn all open flames off
  • Open all doors and windows
  • Turn off the gas supply at the meter
  • Get out of the house
  • Call the experts and don’t turn the gas on

5. Stinky Feet/Dirty Socks

This odor is often due to uncleanliness. A stinky foott or dirty sock smell from your air conditioner is often caused by clogged condensate drain pans, stagnant water, or dirty evaporator coils. The simple solution for this problem is to call Air Max HVAC to do a professional cleaning.

6. Burning Smell

If you smell something burning, then something is probably burning. The possible reasons might be a wiring issue, a motor that is overheating, or another mechanical issue. In other cases, the smell might resemble that of gun powder. This indicates that there’s a short from the fan motor or the AC’s circuit board. You should immediately turn the air conditioner off since this could cause a fire. The switching off should be done from the breaker box.

A persistent burning smell should be an indicator for you to evacuate the building. You should also contact the fire department immediately. After the experts assess where the problem is and they deem the house to be safe for reentry, make sure to schedule a tune-up service with our team.

7. Dirty Trash/Rotten Carcass

This is caused by the death of an animal in your air conditioner. The smell cannot go unnoticed, and once detected, you should attend to the situation before decomposition begins. You should immediately turn the air conditioner off and open all the doors and windows to let out the foul odor. You should call either your pest control company or a professional HVAC contractor.

Air Max HVAC offers professional heating and cooling services in Burbank and the surrounding areas. With 80 years of combined experience from our staff, we’ve helped many residents with their HVAC systems in Burbank. Since 2001, Air Max HVAC has provided superior customer service and high-quality products. We have certified technicians who can provide AC installation, repair, maintenance, and replacement services. Our knowledgeable staff members also offer electric furnace installation, maintenance, repairs, and much more.

Give us a call today for state-of-the-art products and services! We can take care of any foul odors coming from your AC and offer you expert advice on how to prevent odors in the future.