What to Do When Air Conditioners Smell Bad

Blower Motor Cleaning and Maintenance in Dallas, TX

Without proper maintenance and regular cleaning, air conditioners (as well as HVAC systems) can experience a broad range of issues including emitting foul odors. In this blog entry, the Dallas air duct cleaning and Dallas HVAC repair service experts here at Power Clean Solutions will detail the top steps to take depending on what smell your AC system might be emitting.

Air Conditioner Exhaust Smell

Air conditioners should never smell like car exhaust. If your AC unit smells like exhaust it’s likely due to a leak in its refrigerant line. Freon is the most common refrigerant fluid used in air conditioners, and is a toxic chlorofluorocarbon. It absorbs heat from interior air and releases it outside. Freon smells like car coolant, with a sweet odor. Freon leaks can be dangerous, so if you smell a coolant or exhaust smell from your AC, contact a professional HVAC repair service team.

Air Conditioner Fire Smell

If you smell a gunpowder or burning plastic smell from your air conditioner, it’s likely due to an electrical component inside the unit like circuit boards, power wires, compressors, or fans burning. Turn your air conditioner off and contact a professional AC repair team. Sometimes, burning smells from AC units is simply caused when ACs aren’t used for a while and have dust that’s settled inside the unit. This dust can quickly burn and cause a bad smell, but it’s nothing to be concerned about.

Air Conditioner Sulfur Smell

A sulfurous or sour smell in your air conditioner is usually caused by dead animals inside your unit. Birds, bugs, or small rodents sometimes hide in ductwork and get stuck inside and expire. As these animals decompose, a foul odor can be sent through your home when HVAC systems are turned on. We recommend animal proofing your HVAC units. If you smell a foul odor from your air conditioner (or heating unit) contact a professional HVAC system cleaning team for full inspection and assistance.

Air Conditioner Gas or Skunk Smell

This smell can indicate a methyl mercaptan leak, which can be a very dangerous or even deadly situation. Natural gas has no natural smell, but because it’s so dangerous, utility and gas distribution companies put this substance in it to give it a distinct odor so that people can more easily protect themselves from gas leakage. If your AC unit smells like a skunk, it’s almost 100% due to natural gas. Make sure to immediately turn off your gas supply and call your gas utility assistance line for emergency help.

Air Conditioner Mold Smell

This common issue is probably due to water accumulating in the AC unit drain pan or (in ducted systems) drip lines, which cause the growth of mildew and fungus. This leakage can sometimes be pinpointed with signs like water dripping down the wall. Another cause of this smell is dirty filters – as moisture can accumulate inside filters especially in hot or humid areas and after air conditioners are left off for a while. Contact a professional HVAC system cleaning technician for expert assistance in removing moldy smells from your air conditioning system and air ducts.

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