Why does it smell bad when my air conditioner runs?

July 22, 2019

Many of us install air conditioners to help us feel cool in our homes. But when you start to experience unpleasant odors coming from your cooling system, it’s more than just annoying. It can greatly affect your home comfort.

Where do the smells come from?

Start with what the odor smells like. If the odor resembles a rotten egg, this could be a signal of a gas leak. If this is the case, you should open your windows, turn off the gas supply, evacuate the home and reach out to the gas company. Allow the gas company turn it back on for you. It’s not something you want to mess around with.

If it doesn’t smell like rotten eggs, you have a different problem.

Just like anything in your indoor space, if your air conditioner isn’t cleaned well or taken care of, there’s a good chance that dirt and dust will develop. And because components of your air conditioner aren’t front and center, cleaning them can often go overlooked.

Buildup of mold, dirt and other particles is one of the most common sources of odors with air conditioners. It can take place with the coils, drain pain, air ducts or even your filter. However, routine maintenance can help decrease this buildup and reduce the chances that an unfriendly smell starts diffusing throughout your home.

Heat and moisture can contribute to increased mold growth, specially in warmer climates. Not only can mold and mildew induce a nasty smell, but it can also negatively impact the quality of air in your house.

It’s also possible that a small animal navigated into your duct system and died. You can turn off your air conditioner and either give our team or pest control a call to come and retrieve the animal.

What can I do?

Check your filter. This is a typical culprit for air conditioner odors. If it’s been a long time since you’ve exchanged your air filter, replace it with a brand new one. We typically advise changing your filter every two to three months. But it’s also vital to keep in mind other factors that would require you to replace it more frequently, such as pets in the home or if a family member has allergies or asthma.

If you’ve switched the filter and it’s not reducing the smell, it’s probably time to reach out for some help. Especially if it’s been an lengthy period of time since your last air conditioning inspection. They can examine the situation to see if a thorough cleaning can do the job. You could consider having your air ducts cleaned. Professional duct cleaners can take a look to see if your indoor air quality would improve from a proper cleaning.

If you have frustrations about the odors in your home, Gillman Heating and Air can help you take a look at the situation and talk through possible solutions. You should be able to enjoy your cool indoor space in the warmer summer months, without having to suffer with undesirable odors. You can arrange an appointment with our experts online or give us a shout at 478-202-3076.