Why does it smell bad when my air conditioner runs?

July 22, 2019

Many of us install air conditioners to help us feel relaxed in our homes. But when you start to notice unpleasant odors coming from your cooling system, it’s more than just bothersome. It can greatly influence 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 probably have a different challenge.

Just like anything in your home, if your air conditioner isn’t cleaned correctly or taken care of, there’s a good chance that dirt and dust will gather. And because components of your air conditioner aren’t clearly displayed before you, cleaning them can often go overlooked.

Buildup of mold, dirt and other particles is one of the more typical culprits of odor with air conditioners. It can occur with the coils, drain pain, air ducts or even your filter. However, routine maintenance can help decrease this buildup and reduce the chances that an unfriendly smell starts dispersing throughout your house.

Heat and moisture can contribute to increased mold growth, specially in warmer climates. Not only can mold and mildew develop 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 get the animal.

What can I do?

Analyze your filter. This is a typical culprit for air conditioner odors. If it’s been a long time since you’ve changed your air filter, replace it with a brand new one. We typically recommend changing your filter every three months. But it’s also important to keep in mind other factors that would require you to replace it more frequently, such as pets in the home or if a family member has allergies or asthma.

If you’ve replaced the filter and it’s not reducing the smell, it’s probably time to reach out for some help. Especially if it’s been an extended period of time since your last air conditioning examination. They can examine the situation to see if a thorough cleaning can do the job. You might 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, O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning can help you take a look at the situation and discuss possible solutions. You should be able to enjoy your cool indoor space during the warmer summer months, without having to suffer with undesirable odors. You can schedule an appointment with us online or give us a shout at 610-257-7035.