Why does it smell bad when my air conditioner runs?

July 22, 2019

Many of us install air conditioners to help us feel comfortable in our homes. But when you start to experience unpleasant odors coming from your cooling system, it’s more than just annoying. It can greatly influence your home comfort.

Where do the smells come from?

Focus on what the odor smells like. If the odor resembles a rotten egg, this could be a sign of a gas leak. If this is the case, you should open your windows, turn off the gas supply, evacuate the home and call the gas company. Make sure to let the gas company turn it back on for you. It’s not something you want to risk doing on your own.

If it doesn’t smell like rotten eggs, you probably have a different problem.

Just like anything in your indoor space, if your air conditioner isn’t cleaned properly or taken care of, there’s a good chance that dirt and dust will gather. And because components of your air conditioner aren’t right in front of you, cleaning them can often go overlooked.

Buildup of mold, dirt and other particles is one of the most common sources of odors with air conditioners. It can happen with the coils, drain pain, air ducts or even your filter. Thankfully, ongoing maintenance can help decrease this buildup and reduce the chances that an unfriendly smell starts dispersing throughout your house.

Heat and moisture can contribute to increased mold growth, especially in warmer climates. Not only can mold and mildew induce a nasty smell, but it can also negatively impact the quality of air in your home.

It’s also possible that a little critter navigated into your duct system and died. You can turn off your air conditioner and either give our team or pest control a call to come and get the animal.

What can I do?

Check your filter. This is a typical culprit for air conditioner odors. If it’s been a long time since you’ve exchanged your air filter, try replacing it with a brand new one. We typically suggest changing your filter every few months. But it’s also key to keep in mind other factors that would require you to replace it more often, such as pets in the home or if a family member has allergies or asthma.

If you’ve exchanged the filter and it’s not helping, it’s probably time to contact a professional. Especially if it’s been an extended period of time since your last air conditioning inspection. Technicians can assess the situation to see if a thorough cleaning can do the job. You may also want to consider having your air ducts cleaned. Professional duct cleaners can take a look to see if your indoor air quality would be enhanced from a proper cleaning.

If you have concerns about the odors in your home, Hopper Heating and Air can help you assess the situation and talk through possible solutions. You should be able to enjoy your cool indoor space in the warmer summer months, without having to suffer with undesirable odors. You can arrange an appointment with us online or give us a shout at 704-233-7363.