It’s time for another game of guess that smell! As a homeowner, landlord, or tenant you’re all too familiar with identifying mysterious odors in your home. But did you consider that what you’re smelling could be from your air conditioner?

There are a few types of air conditioner smells that you should know about in order to prevent or fix a major AC problem. Read below for a list of the top 7 most common AC odors and what they mean.

1. Burning Smell Coming From Air Conditioner

Does your AC unit smell like something is burning? This could be a sign of a mechanical problem. You may notice this smell the first time your turn on your AC unit or if you haven’t used it in a while. The smell should go away within about 20 minutes.

If the smell continues, you could be facing a more serious problem with the AC compressor, fan motor, or wiring. The fumes could be dangerous to inhale so it’s best to turn the unit off and get some fresh air in the house.

Do not attempt to fix this issue yourself. Turn the AC unit off and contact a local air conditioning repair company.

2. AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs or Sulfur

Why does my AC unit smell like rotten eggs? The rotten egg or sulfur smell is usually a sign of a natural gas leak. Toxic air conditioner smells, like sulfur, should be taken seriously.

If you smell gas, immediately turn off the gas supply and evacuate your home. Call the fire department to do an inspection. Natural gas is usually odorless but when it comes from an AC unit you may be able to detect the rotten eggs smell.

What about a smell that’s not quite rotten eggs but it’s definitely something rotten? If you notice a putrid smell from your AC you could also be dealing with a dead pest. Mice, rats, and other creatures can crawl into ducts or walls and when they die it emits a foul odor.

You can contact pest control to remove dead animals. You may also want to call your HVAC company to clean the ducts afterward to permanently get rid of the smell.

3. Moldy and Musty

If the smell from the AC unit reminds you of a musty, moldy basement it’s time to get your AC system cleaned. Water can accumulate in the drain pan or ducts (drip lines) allowing mildew to grow.

If you notice the moldy smell and water dripping down the wall from the AC unit, you may also have some leakage from the lines. This is a relatively easy problem to fix for experienced technicians.

A musty smell can also come from dirty filters. Over time the filters attract dust and dirt that builds up and causes an unpleasant smell. If you live in a hot, humid climate, the AC filters may need a more regular maintenance plan. Proper maintenance will help prevent unwanted smells from dirty air filters.

4. Car Exhaust

Noticing a familiar smell coming from your AC unit? Does it remind you of exhaust fumes from a car? Your AC unit may have a refrigerant line leak.

You might also notice that your AC unit isn’t performing as efficiently either. Performance issues combined with the car exhaust smell are pretty conclusive clues of a leak. Call a professional right away to investigate the issue.

The refrigerant line can leak hazardous chemicals that are bad for the human body and bad for the environment. While you’re waiting for HVAC repair, ventilate your home to get rid of the smell.

5. Chemical Smell

Your AC unit should not smell like chemicals. If you think you detect pain thinner, formaldehyde, or chlorine and you have no other reason for those odors – it could be the AC.

Your AC uses different fluids but none of them should cause a noticeable odor. The chemical smell could be coming from a freon leak or certain types of air filters. It’s best to contact an HVAC expert to diagnose the source of the chemical smell. in the meantime, ventilate your home for the safety of you and your family.

If you have recently had ductwork completed in your home and you notice the smell of glue it’s probably normal. The glue releases n odor while it’s drying. If the smell persists, contact a professional.

6. Gunpowder

Smelling gunpowder? You could have a fried circuit board, power wire, fan, or compressor. The burning smell is caused by the actual burning of one of these elements. Turn off your air conditioner and call for backup from an AC professional. Do not attempt to fix the problem yourself because it could be dangerous.

If you turned on your AC after not using it for a while, the burning smell could be from the dust burning off. If the smell goes away after a few minutes you don’t necessarily need to be concerned, But it’s always best to consult a professional if you are unsure.

7. Cigarette Smoke

If you smoke cigarettes inside your home the evaporator coil and filter in your AC unit can absorb the odor of the smoke. So when you use the AC, it disseminates the smell back through the vent.

You can prevent this issue by replacing your air filters about every 30 to 60 days. Schedule regular maintenance and cleaning for your AC system. You may also want to consider other ways to promote better indoor air quality.

Contact Guy’s AC & Heating for AC Service, Let Us Help You Get Rid of Air Conditioner Smells

When your air conditioner is properly installed, repaired, and maintained, you shouldn’t notice any strange air conditioner smells. But if you do, we are here to help! Guy’s Air Conditioning proudly serves the following areas:

  • Atascocita
  • Cleveland
  • Conroe
  • Houston
  • Huffman
  • Humble
  • Kingwood
  • New Caney
  • Oakridge
  • Porter
  • Spring
  • Splendora
  • The Woodlands

We have 24-hour emergency service and financing plans for your convenience. Let us help you stay cool! Contact us today – we look forward to working with you.