AC Smelling Funny? Here are 5 AC Smells and What they Mean

Air Conditioning Smelling Funny? Here are 5 AC Smells and What they Mean

After a season of lying dormant, it’s expected—even common—to notices some strange smells emanating from your air conditioner. The most common smell is dust. That’s completely normal. After sitting for months, dust will accumulate in your system and the AC just needs to burn everything off. If you’re still smelling something funny after a few days, it may be time to give your HVAC technician a call. Here are 5 AC smells and what they mean.

Dirty Socks

One of the most unpleasant smells is that of dirty socks. We all know the odor; it’s the worst part of laundry day. Unfortunately, this smell could waft through your home and your condenser could be to blame. Sometimes, condenser coils can grow bacteria and emit a “stinky sock” smell. While you may curse the coils for bringing this scent into your home, they’re actually very important. Evaporator coils absorb heat and make treated air cool. If you’re smelling dirty socks, there’s not a lot you can do beyond calling an HVAC professional to clean the coils and sanitize your condenser.

Burning or Gun Powder

If you smell burning coming from your vents, unfortunately, something is burning. If you do smell fire, burning, or gun powder, immediately turn off your HVAC system, call the fire department, and only return to your home when it is safe to do so. Once you are safely back home, it’s time to call an HVAC professional. A burning smell can indicate a number of issues, it could be frayed wiring that’s catching fire, an overheated motor, or another catastrophic mechanical issue. If you smell gun powder, it could mean something in the AC short circuited.

Exhaust Fumes

Exhaust fumes aren’t only from cars; they can come from your AC too. If you smell exhaust in your home, it could mean that a fluid in your air conditioner or condenser is leaking onto a motor or other warm part of the system, this warm fluid is then emitting the exhaust odor. If you suspect fluid is leaking in your HVAC unit, do not hesitate to call an HVAC professional.

Trash Smell

During the winter, many small animals seek refuge in HVAC systems. Unfortunately, not all those animals make it out for spring. If you turn on your AC system and instantly smell a strong trash or garbage smell, it could mean that something passed away in your HVAC system and needs to be removed. If you suspect something is in your HVAC system, turn off the air, open the windows and call pest control or a professional HVAC specialist.

Mildew or Mold

Our most common calls about smelly AC systems involve mildew or mold. One of an air conditioner’s main functions is to remove humidity from the air and ensure the home retains a normal level of moisture. Because of this, moisture can collect in your system and foster microbial growth. A mold or mildew smell is also worrying because that mold is potentially floating through your home and into your lungs. If you are experiencing this, call Service Champions and one of our HVAC technicians can diagnose the problem and offer solutions.

Don’t Hesitate, Call Service Champions

Smelling any of these obnoxious odors? Contact the Diamond Certified HVAC specialists at Service Champions Plumbing, Heating & AC. At Service Champions, we are committed to high quality and reliable results. Our technicians are trained professionals who are personable, friendly, and effective. We are proud to service Los Angeles and Orange counties. If you want to learn more about an air scrubber, or speak to a specialist, or fill out the form linked here.