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Why Does My AC Smell?

ac odor repair

We all depend on our AC systems for that cool blast of fresh air when it starts to get warm outside. However, sometimes the air in our home begins to smell a little off – particularly right after the AC is turned on. While strange smells don’t always signal an emergency, you should never put up with anything other than clean smelling air in your home.

That’s why Southern Air wants you to be knowledgeable about your AC and the possible causes of the scents you may smell coming from your vents. The more information you have, the better you’ll be able to recognize which solution will work best to remove AC odor in your home.

Common AC Smells and Their Solutions

As HVAC professionals, we hear a lot of different complaints about AC systems and their abnormalities. Never think you’re alone when your AC smells bad – many homeowners have experienced the same. The following are a few of the most common scent descriptions and the steps to take if they appear in your home.

Skunky Gas Smell

Gas leaks are the most concerning of all smells your AC could emit. Be very cautious if you feel like you smell gas or the smell of a skunk. While natural gas is odorless, other utilities and gas distributors are purposefully laced with chemicals to make them smell when they leak. This allows the homeowner to immediately smell the leak and be aware of the danger it poses.

Your best course of action if skunk smell is coming from your ducts is to shut down your AC system and any gas supply it has. Call a professional utility or HVAC company to help you find a safe solution for you and your home.

Exhaust Smell

There is no fuel source inside your AC system that should cause your air to smell like car exhaust. However, the fluids used in your unit are sensitive to heat and can release an exhaust-like scent when heated too much by neighboring parts of the system. The most common chemical leak that causes this scent is refrigerant, which can be very dangerous.

If you ever suspect a refrigerant leak, shut down your AC system quickly and contact an HVAC professional. AC technicians are specifically trained to handle refrigerant safely and are the best option to make sure your home is cleared of hazardous scents and liquids.

Fire Smell

One common source of a burnt smell is excess dust that has collected on an inactive AC unit over time. It tends to burn off when the system is turned on, but the smell should dissipate quickly.

If the smell lingers or becomes more pungent, you could have an electrical problem. Power wires, fans and compressors are all examples of electrical parts that could be burning inside the AC unit.

Shut down your AC system, and contact AC professionals to make sure there is no direct fire hazard. Technicians can also replace and repair any burnt out parts to get your system running.

Rotten Egg Smell

The smell of rotten eggs often indicates a decomposing carcass somewhere in your AC system. Small rodents, lizards and other creatures have a way of finding their way inside the AC unit and becoming trapped. They will spread a foul odor as time passes, and they can even block your ducts.

If you feel comfortable locating the source of the smell, you can usually remove it yourself. However, an HVAC professional may be a great resource if you’re unsure where the smell is coming from or you want to make sure the smell will be entirely taken care of.

Moldy Smell

AC units handle the removal of moisture from your air. This means that it is possible for mold or mildew to find and grow from any excess moisture in the system. When you smell sour or mildewy air from your vents, you likely have a growth of mold.

Simply call on AC experts to thoroughly inspect and perform an air conditioning cleaning to prevent long-term exposure to mold spores in the air.

Need Expert AC Repair?

Southern Air is dedicated to being the best Central Louisiana AC repair company for our customers. That means you can count on our team to be efficient, friendly and professional with all your AC repairs. Contact us today!

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