Plumbing Blog

What Your Air Conditioner Smells Really Mean

Your air conditioner is an essential part of keeping your Phoenix home cool and comfortable. When it’s working properly, you probably don’t think twice about it. However, if your home begins to take on a certain aroma once your AC starts running, you’ll probably notice right away. Here are some common smells, their causes and what should be done about it.

5 Common Causes of Air Conditioner Smells

The stinky smell emanating from your air conditioning system could be caused by a number of problems, including a clogged condensate drain, improper evaporation of collected moisture, malfunctioning filtration components or dirty cooling coils. Electrical shorts can also be a root cause of odd smells, as can gas leaks and plumbing problems. You might smell:

ACE Home Services - Man Cleaning Mildew Mold Off of AC Ducts

1. Mildew (mold)

Most often caused by mold or mildew somewhere in the AC system, a mildew smell can warn you of dirty filters or drainage and moisture problems before they become insurmountable. Replacing the filters and having the system professionally cleaned will likely remedy the problem.

ACE Home Services - Sewage Smell in Air Conditioner

2. Sewage

Plumbing problems can result in methane collecting in and around the ductwork. This gas smells very bad at low concentrations and is dangerous, as well. If you smell sewage from your AC vents, call our professional HVAC technicians as soon as possible.

ACE Home Services - Sulfur Smell Coming from HVAC Unit

3. Sulfur (rotten eggs)

A rotten egg smell can often be traced to small animals that have died in or near your ductwork. This type of problem will likely require professional remediation and duct cleaning.

Ace Home Services - Electric Short Gun Powder Smell in Air Conditioner

4. Gunpowder

Electrical problems could cause a gunpowder-like smell to permeate your home. Electrical shorts can cause fires; contact a professional HVAC technician to help you.

ACE Home Services - Skunk Smell in AC Unit Due to Natural Gas Leak

5. Skunk

Natural gas has no odor of its own, so a substance called methyl mercaptan is added to make it detectable. This additive smells somewhat like a skunk. Natural gas is very dangerous; get out of the house and call for help from the gas company and an experienced HVAC technician as well.

AC Odor Eliminator in Phoenix

Air conditioning problems can be a big headache in Phoenix, especially strange smells. At Ace Home Services, we know it’s important to keep your home comfortable and odor free, which is why we offer a 20-point tune-up to keep your HVAC in good repair all year ‘round. If your AC smells musty, contact us! We’ve worked to keep Phoenix residents cool for more than twenty years; we’re ready to help you.