Our air conditioners (AC’s) keep us cool in the summer and warm us up through the winter. They give us the comfort that reminds us we’re home. To create these benefits while battling the outdoor climate, air conditioners are pretty complex machines. With these complexities and the many parts that work together, some problems can pop up from time to time. If they’re circulating an odour through your home instead of cool air, they may be warning you of a potential issue.
In this article, we discuss the main reasons to help you answer the uncomfortable question, “why does my air conditioner smell?”.
Types of air conditioning smells and their causes
Air conditioners release a different type of smell depending on which part is causing a problem. As they’re made to flow air, a smell can filter through your house fast when they’re releasing an odour.
Below we discuss each type of smell and what’s causing it:
My AC smells like feet
The smell of feet or wet carpet is one of the most common odours from an air conditioner. It’s also a smell that’s not shy about its presence. This moldy smell from AC’s is usually a symptom of a dirty or clogged air conditioner. When the air conditioner’s pipes are clogged, water sits in the system and doesn’t drain appropriately. Sitting water can cause fungus or mildew to grow, which can birth an organic, musty smell. You can also check for dripping water near your AC or down your wall to confirm this.
Hot climates, like we have in Sydney, can often cause moisture to accumulate in filters and add to this smell. The smell can act as an indicator that your air conditioner has a problem and might need to be looked at by a professional. Clogged air conditioners can cause the compressor to break or the device to freeze if not dealt with.
My AC smells like exhaust fumes
Your air conditioner has an engine that uses fluids. Although it’s not combustion-powered, it can still make the smell of exhaust fumes. If your air conditioner makes this smell, there’s a good chance that the fluids that run through the engine are leaking. These fluids can smell like exhaust fumes when they’re heated. A leak in your refrigerant can decrease the performance of your AC, which means it will work at a lower efficiency.
Leaks can be dangerous because they can release chemicals into the air, which can be harmful to people and the environment. When a chemical smell comes from your AC unit, opening the windows in your house can help ventilate the chemicals to reduce their hazard. Next, you can contact an HVAC technician to repair the unit to get it working perfectly again.
My AC smells like something’s burning
If your AC smells like something’s burning, it probably is. Many electrical components are built into AC units, such as circuit boards, power wires and fans. The smell of burning gunpowder or plastic can mean that one of these parts is overheating and burning. You should immediately turn off your AC when you smell burning coming from the unit. Buring electrics can be dangerous, so consulting a professional may be the best response to this situation.
Another reason for a burning smell could be the temporary burning of dust within your unit. If your air conditioner has been inactive for some time, dust can gather and settle. Burning dust isn’t a major concern, but the trouble can be distinguishing the reason for the burning smell. If the odour is overwhelming or doesn’t go away, you may need to contact an HVAC expert.
My AC smells like eggs
If you’re yet to pinpoint the smell on this list, the smell of rotten eggs can be unmistakable. Rodents, animals or insects can take refuge from the Sydney climate in your AC unit. Unfortunately, it’s not an ideal home for them, and they can become trapped in the equipment.
A foul smell from your ac can signal that something needs to be removed from the unit. If their smell wasn’t motivation enough, their bodies can damage different parts of your AC, so you may want to check it out as soon as you can. If you’re comfortable doing it yourself, try to locate the exact duct that the smell is coming from. Using a screwdriver, remove the panel and remove the carcass. Otherwise, you can always call us out there to sort it out for you.
My AC smells like gas
Your AC unit uses gases as part of its cooling and heating system. AC gases can be toxic at high concentrations and can create a dangerous situation when running through your house. Gases used in air conditioners can also be flammable and can explode in high temperatures.
The smell of gas in your house can ring your mental alarm bells. The gases used in AC units are created with a distinct smell, which actually serves to alert you that it’s leaking. If your AC has a gas leak smell, find your property’s gas supply and switch it off. This can eliminate the hazard and give you time to have an expert inspect the problem.
You may now have a better idea of the causes of specific smells coming from your AC unit. Narrowing down the problem can help you fix it. As many of the reasons your AC releases smells can come with serious hazards and risks in your home, a technician may be in a better position to repair it. If you’ve got a smell coming from your AC unit and you would like to have it inspected, Glenco are experts in AC repairs.