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 observe unpleasant odors coming from your cooling system, it’s more than just irritating. It can greatly impact your home comfort.

Where do the smells come from?

Begin with what the odor smells like. If the odor resembles a rotten egg, this could be a indication of a gas leak. If this is the case, you should open your windows, turn off the gas supply, evacuate the home and reach out to the gas company. Allow the gas company turn it back on for you. It’s not something you want to risk doing on your own.

If it doesn’t smell like rotten eggs, you are likely experiencing a different problem.

Just like anything in your house, if your air conditioner isn’t cleaned properly or taken care of, there’s a good chance that dirt and dust will accumulate. And because components of your air conditioner aren’t front and center, cleaning them can often go overlooked.

Buildup of mold, dirt and other particles is one of the most common sources of odors with air conditioners. It can occur with the coils, drain pain, air ducts or even your filter. Luckily, ongoing maintenance can help decrease this buildup and reduce the odds that an unfriendly smell starts diffusing throughout your home.

Heat and moisture can contribute to increased mold growth, especially in warmer climates. Not only can mold and mildew create a nasty smell, but it can also negatively impact the quality of air in your home.

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 remove the animal.

What can I do?

Check your filter. This is a typical culprit for air conditioner odors. If it’s been a long time since you’ve exchanged your air filter, try replacing it with a brand new one. We typically advise changing your filter every three months. But it’s also key 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 exchanged the filter and it’s not reducing the smell, it’s probably time to contact a professional. Especially if it’s been an extended period of time since your last air conditioning checkup. Technicians 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 benefit from a proper cleaning.

If you have frustrations about the odors in your home, Colvin's Heating and Cooling 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 unfavorable odors. You can book an appointment with us online or give us a shout at 816-379-3918.