AC System Odors: What Can They Mean

When coming home from work or after spending some time outdoors, it’s refreshing to feel the fresh, gentle breeze of conditioned air blowing through the house to stay cool. However, sometimes your air conditioning system may be transporting more than just fresh air when it’s accompanied by an unusual odor.  While some odors are simple annoyances quickly resolved, but others can indicate a severe or dangerous problem with your AC system. Here are five common odors you could be smelling coming from your AC system and what they could mean.

Air conditioner inspection, lakeland flExhaust Fumes

When your air conditioner smells like exhaust fumes, it could mean that your system is leaking refrigerant or other fluids. Since these chemicals and fluids can be toxic when released into your home or environment, it is a severe issue. Turn off the air conditioner and contact Florida Air Express or your AC service technician as soon as possible to schedule a service call. Our technicians are available 24/7, and emergency service is also available. Also, open some windows to ventilate the exhaust odor in your home.

 

Musty or Dirty Sock Odor

One of the most common AC odors is a strong, musty odor that smells like someone left their wet and dirty socks lying around the house. Also known as Dirty Sock Syndrome, it is typically due to clogged condensate pans and dirty evaporator coils. When the condensate pans are clogged, bacteria can develop from the stagnant water and dirty coils, producing a musty or dirty sock odor.  Contact a qualified AC service technician or Florida Air Express to schedule a service call. The technician will drain the pains and clean the coils eliminating the odor.

Burning Smell

Another sign of a potentially severe AC issue is a burning smell often characterized as a gun powder odor. It can be caused by an electrical fault in the circuit board or an overheating fan motor. Again, do not use the air conditioning system until a qualified AC repair technician has inspected the air conditioner.

Sulfur or Rotten Egg Odor

A sulfur or rotten egg odor coming from your AC unit indicates a gas leak and requires immediate action. Although natural gas is odorless, it contains an additive that produces an obnoxious rotten egg smell to let people know when a gas leak occurs.  If you smell sulfur or rotten eggs, turn off the gas and evacuate your home immediately. Do not use any electrical or gas appliances. Contact the gas company or dial 9-1-1 to reach your local fire department before doing anything. When it is safe to do so, contact Florida Air Express or your local AC repair technician.

testing ac for leak, haines city flChemical Odor

A chemical-like odor coming from the AC vent with a slightly sweet smell like a coolant for your car can be a sign of a refrigerant link in your AC system’s line. You may also hear a hissing or bubbling noise. A refrigerant leak is a severe issue that can lead to a premature system failure if not immediately repaired.  Also, if you store paint, paint thinners, insecticides, or other chemicals in the garage or near an AC intake vent, the chemical’s odors can be blown through the vents in your house if the container is leaking or not sealed airtight. Since chemical odors can be hazardous, avoid using the air conditioner until a service technician inspects your HVAC system.

AC Service and Repair

Anytime you smell a strange odor or hear unfamiliar noises with your air conditioner, it is time to schedule an AC service call with a professional HVAC repair technician. The technician will diagnose and repair any issues to avoid equipment failure and exposure to harmful vapors. Our trained AC repair specialists provide fast and efficient 24/7 service throughout our Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida service area.