Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell so Bad?

Have you ever walked into your home on a hot, summer’s day to an unbearable smell but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from? If so, you’re not alone.

The last place many homeowners imagine a foul smell coming from is their air conditioning system. But there are several reasons that can cause an AC to stink up the place. In this blog, the technicians at B&W discuss some common air conditioning smells and their likely causes.

B&W has been Indianapolis and all of Central Indiana’s heating and cooling leader for more than 50 years. If you’re experiencing any air conditioning issues, including foul smells that need inspected, contact the NATE-certified technicians at B&W today.

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell?

It’s important to note that not every homeowner will experience bad smells coming from their air conditioning units. It occurs more frequently over the past 20 years because of a change in materials and design to improve efficiency. However, we want to stress that it is not a given that you’ll get a stinky sock smell by installing high-efficiency equipment.

Here are a few of the most common air conditioner smells and what they mean:

Stinky sock smell

A stinky sock smell is the result of mold, must or mildew that has built up in the system over time. This is caused by excess humidity or moisture in your home’s HVAC system.

To prevent moisture issues, regularly replace HVAC air filters and schedule routine maintenance on your AC system. An annual inspection will clean your system’s evaporator coils and unclog the condensate drain line, if necessary. Both of those issues can lead to a stinky sock or old cheese smell. Our technicians will also inspect for any existing mold and mildew problems.

A burning smell

A burning smell can mean several things. Your system could be experiencing an electrical wiring issue, a mechanical problem or a motor that’s overheated. When there’s not an immediate threat, contact B&W to inspect your entire unit to get to the root of the problem. In some cases, the burning smell could just be dust that is burning off if the system hasn’t been used in a long time.

If it smells like gunpowder, there might be a short circuit from the fan motor or circuit breaker.

Foul or rotting smell

It won’t take you long to know if a critter or rodent died in your air conditioner unit, as the smell will continue to get worse and eventually become unbearable. If you don’t know where the critter is located, contact an HVAC company to locate and remove it so you can return to a normal life.

Chemical odor

A chemical odor can indicate a refrigerant leak. Not only will a refrigerant leak affect the performance of your air conditioning system, it can be harmful to the environment and dangerous to people if they’re directly exposed to it. Contact an HVAC professional immediately if you notice such a leak.

Gassy smell

A gassy smell could be the result of a gas leak. If this occurs, turn off your gas supply and contact your local utility company to repair the problem.

Contact B&W for AC Repair

Don’t let AC bad smells negatively impact your home’s air quality. If your home’s air conditioning system is experiencing any of these smells, contact the cooling experts at B&W, Indianapolis and Central Indiana’s most trusted HVAC company.

We’ve been in business for more than 50 years, and our NATE-certified technicians are trained to make all types of air conditioning repairs. We also provide tune up and installation services.