Why does it smell bad when my air conditioner runs?

July 22, 2019

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

Where do the smells come from?

Focus on 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. Be sure to have the gas company turn it back on for you. It’s not something you want to risk doing on your own.

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

Just like anything in your indoor space, if your air conditioner isn’t cleaned correctly or taken care of, there’s a good chance that dirt and dust will accumulate. 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 request reasons you’ll notice odors with air conditioners. It can happen with the coils, drain pain, air ducts or even your filter. However, ongoing maintenance can help prevent this buildup and reduce the chances that an unfriendly smell starts dispersing throughout your house.

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

It’s also possible that a little critter 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?

Assess 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 suggest 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 repeatedly, such as pets in the home or if a family member has allergies or asthma.

If you’ve exchanged the filter and it’s not helping, it’s probably time to contact a professional. Especially if it’s been an long period of time since your last air conditioning inspection. They can assess the situation to see if a thorough cleaning can do the job. You might consider having your air ducts cleaned. Professional duct cleaners can take a look to see if your indoor air quality would benefit from a proper cleaning.

If you have frustrations about the odors in your home, Kowalski Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can help you review the situation and talk through possible solutions. You should be able to enjoy your cool indoor space throughout the warmer summer months, without having to suffer with unwanted odors. You can book an appointment with us online or give us a shout at 724-370-0141.