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Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell?

Beautiful woman with grimace beacuse of bad smell. Isolated on white.

Wondering what that awful smell could be that’s coming from your air conditioner? AC units are supposed to provide cool, refreshing air, not be the source of an unbearable stink in your home. There are many reasons why your air conditioner may be producing foul odors, some of which you can resolve on your own while others will require the keen eye of an expert HVAC technician. Discover why the air from your AC smells — and what you can do to fix it — by reading the blog below!

7 Reasons Your AC Unit Stinks

Air conditioning systems can start to stink up the place quickly when something has gone awry inside the unit. Strange AC smells you may experience in your home include:

  • Mold & mildew odors: When there is excess humidity and moisture in your HVAC unit, this can lead to mold and mildew growth, which produces a foul smell when air blows these harmful particles through your home.
  • Cigarette smoke odors: If someone has smoked in or around your home, your AC unit can trap the smoke particles inside the filter and evaporator coils, causing you to smell cigarettes the next time you turn on your system.
  • Burning odors: A burning smell coming from your system is a sure sign of alarm since it likely means there is an overheating motor, wiring issue, or other mechanical problem at play.
  • Sewage odors: If your sewer line backs up or your P-traps are dry, your air conditioner could start to smell like raw sewage. It’s imperative to have this issue resolved immediately, as sewer gases can be hazardous to your health.
  • Rotting odors: Sometimes, a critter might find its way into your AC unit, where it becomes stuck and eventually dies. This is a huge health hazard, and the carcass should be removed immediately by a pest management professional.
  • Sulfur odors: The classic “rotten egg” smell is a sure sign of leaking gas in your home. If you smell rotten eggs in your home, be sure to contact your HVAC professional immediately, as a gas leak can be extremely dangerous.
  • Stinky feet odors: Does your unit smell like dirty socks or smelly feet? You might have dirty evaporator coils, a clogged condensate drain pan, or stagnant water standing in your air conditioner.

While each of these foul odors is problematic, not all of them require professional assistance to resolve. Depending on what the root source of your air conditioning odor might be, you could solve the problem easily on your own without scheduling a professional HVAC service.

How to Fix a Smelly Air Conditioner

There are a few easy DIY repairs that homeowners can use to resolve their smelly air conditioner problem. The next time your system stinks up the place, try the following troubleshooting tips before calling in the professionals:

  • Change your air filter: Air filters should be changed at least once every three months (more if you’re a pet owner or allergy-sufferer). Simply changing your air filter can eliminate many pesky odors, including cigarette smoke.
  • Run water in your sinks: One way to prevent sewage smells from coming through your AC is to run the water in all of your sinks each month to fill the P-trap and create a seal against sewer odors.
  • Keep your system clean: While nothing can substitute for professional cleaning by an HVAC technician, keeping the areas you can reach in and around your AC clean and clear of debris can help you avoid playing host to any unwanted odors.

These three tips can help you prevent foul odors from stinking up your home. However, you should be wary of odors that could indicate a threat to your family’s safety and health.

When in doubt, call your trusted HVAC professional for persistent AC smells. Frymire Home Services is here to provide the long-lasting system solutions you need to remain comfortable and smell-free!

When to Contact Frymire Home Services

Whether your air conditioner requires professional cleaning, annual maintenance, replacement, or repair to eliminate foul odors, Frymire Home Services has you covered. Our team of top-quality HVAC technicians has more than 60 years of industry experience at our disposal to help resolve even the most troublesome smells that impact your air conditioning.

Contact our team to schedule AC services for your Dallas home today!

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