Getting To The Bottom Of The Smell Coming From Your Air Conditioner

Posted on: 6 May 2016

When you turn on your air conditioner, you expect a burst of cool, fresh air to flow through your home. Not a burst of odor tainted, cool air. If your air conditioner is producing an unusual scent when operating, understand that this is not normal. Getting to the bottom of the scent can help put you on a path to correcting the problem.


If you smell an ammonia or skunk-like smell, this requires your immediate attention. This type of smell is generally attributed to a gas leak somewhere within the unit. Within the gas is a component known as methyl mercaptan, which has an odor very similar to that of a skunk.

As the gas leaks, it circulates through the system, making its way into the ducts and ultimately, your home. A gas leak can occur as a result of poor maintenance or a damaged pipe. Any form of a gas leak is dangerous to both your family and your pets, so immediate action is essential.

Rotten Eggs

A very offensive odor is the scent of rotten eggs. This scent should alert you to have your ducts professionally cleaned. Although you probably don't want to think about it, rodents can make their way into your ductwork. This is particularly the case during the winter when they are trying to find warmth.

If the rodent gets stuck and dies, once you turn your air conditioner on for the first time in the summer, the pungent rotten egg scent will filtrate through your home. As an added tip, you should have your ducts cleaned every three to five years.


If you smell a scent reminiscent of mildew when operating your air conditioner, this likely means that you have some moisture issues on your hand and the odor is the result of fungus growing either inside or around the unit. In addition to cooling the air, air conditioner units also remove excess moisture from the air to increase comfort.

This is no issue with this process when the drains are functioning properly; however, when there is a clog, the excess moisture gets pushed back into the system, causing the fungus growth. Unfortunately, the odor is only the beginning of your issues. Over time, poor drainage can cause serious water damage on the inside and outside of the unit.

If your air conditioner is producing a smell, make certain you are speaking with an AC repair professional. If you fail to address the problem, your unit won't just continue to produce the odor, but the underlying issue will likely only get worse and cause greater problems.


Working with an HVAC Contractor to Care for Your System

As a homeowner, you know how important your HVAC system is for comfort throughout the year. If the air conditioner or heater is not working properly, it can result in higher energy costs as the system struggles to keep your home temperatures in a comfortable range. Working with an HVAC contractor will help you maintain your system for reliable use long term, and possibly help you cut your power bills enough to notice the savings at the end of the year. Check out the pages on this website to learn more about how to find the perfect HVAC contractor to work with and how you can be of assistance to them when it comes to keeping your system in tip-top shape.