5 Common AC Smells and What They Mean

We all know the feeling. You turn on your AC for the first time since last summer and all of a sudden, a strange smell comes wafting through the vents. Oftentimes, it’s normal to smell dust when you first turn on your unit. It’s sat idle for a whole season and some dust does collect. The problem is when the smell doesn’t go away. It’s common for a dust smell to burn off after a bit of time, but if an unpleasant odor is lingering, it’s time to call your HVAC technician. Here are 5 common AC smells and what they mean.

Mildew or Mold

At Moore Home Services, the most common smell related call we receive is about mildew or mold. One of your AC’s functions is to normalize the humidity in your home. Unfortunately, if too much moisture accumulates in the AC unit or condenser, it could lead to some unwanted microbial growth. This mold and mildew smell can also mean some nasty airborne particles could be floating through your system. It’s best to make an appointment with your HVAC technician. They can diagnose the problem and do what they can to remedy it.

Dirty Socks

Potentially one of the worst laundry day smells is dirty socks, but what’s even worse is when your whole home reeks of dirty socks. This isn’t a bad dream; it could very well be reality if there is bacteria growth on your condenser’s evaporator coils. The evaporator coils play an important role in your condenser, they absorb heat and distribute cold, treated air. Our HVAC techs are trained to treat evaporator coils, so if you begin to smell this odor, give us a call.

Burning or Gun Powder

If you smell smoke, there’s fire. Or, in this case, probably some frayed wiring, an overheated motor, or a different mechanical issue all together. If you smell burning, do not ignore it. Immediately turn off your HVAC system and call the fire department. Once your home is safe for re-entry, schedule an appointment with one of our HVAC specialists. Alternatively, if you smell gun powder odor, it could mean that something in the AC has short circuited.

Exhaust Fumes

If your AC smells like car exhaust this could mean a few things. Most likely, it means that there’s a fluid leak somewhere in your AC or condenser. These leaks can get on warm parks, maybe the motor, and emit a strange smell. While this isn’t cause for immediate concern, call an HVAC technician as soon as you can to diagnose the problem.

Garbage or Trash

If you turn on your AC and suddenly smell garbage in your home, it could mean something far worse. Oftentimes, small animals will seek a warm retreat during the winter. Many animals make it out, some don’t; and those that don’t may find themselves stuck in your HVAC system. If you smell a garbage or trash smell, turn off the system, open your windows, and call a professional pest management company or an HVAC technician.

Call Moore Home Services

Are any of these common AC Smells lingering in your home? Call Moore Home Services! Our friendly, Diamond Certified HVAC technicians can tune-up, inspect, and if need be, diagnose your AC. They offer the best individual solution for you and your specific situation. To schedule some of our 5-star service, reach out to our friendly call center representatives or fill out the form linked here.