Why does it smell bad when my air conditioner runs?

July 22, 2019

We install air conditioners to help us feel comfortable in our homes. But when you start to notice unpleasant odors coming from your cooling system, it’s more than just annoying. It can greatly affect 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 mess around with.

If it doesn’t smell like rotten eggs, you are likely experiencing a different problem.

Just like anything in your home, if your air conditioner isn’t cleaned well or taken care of, there’s a good chance that dirt and dust will develop. 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 request reasons you’ll notice odors with air conditioners. It can happen with the coils, drain pain, air ducts or even your filter. However, routine maintenance can help avoid this buildup and reduce the probability that an unfriendly smell starts dispersing throughout your space.

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

It’s also possible that a small animal 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 retrieve the animal.

What can I do?

Check your filter. This is a common culprit for air conditioner odors. If it’s been a long time since you’ve swapped your air filter, go ahead and replace it with a brand new one. We typically advise changing your filter every three 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 reach out for some help. Especially if it’s been an lengthy period of time since your last air conditioning inspection. Technicians can examine the situation to see if a thorough cleaning can do the job. You could 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, AW Heating & Air Conditioning can help you review the situation and chat about possible solutions. You should be able to enjoy your cool indoor space throughout the warmer summer months, without having to suffer with unwanted odors. You can arrange an appointment with our team online or give us a shout at 402-318-5351.