Why does it smell bad when my air conditioner runs?

July 22, 2019

We install air conditioners to help us feel comfortable in our homes. But when you start to observe unpleasant odors coming from your cooling system, it’s more than just irritating. It can greatly affect 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 indication of a gas leak. If this is the case, you should open your windows, turn off the gas supply, evacuate the home and call the gas company. Make sure to let the gas company turn it back on for you. It’s not something you want to tackle yourself.

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

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 request reasons you’ll notice odors with air conditioners. It can occur with the coils, drain pain, air ducts or even your filter. Thankfully, ongoing maintenance can help prevent this buildup and reduce the odds that an unfriendly smell starts diffusing throughout your house.

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

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?

Analyze your filter. This is a usual culprit for air conditioner odors. If it’s been a long time since you’ve changed your air filter, try replacing it with a brand new one. We typically suggest changing your filter every two to three months. But it’s also key to keep in mind other factors that would require you to replace it more often, 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 reducing the smell, it’s probably time to reach out for some help. Especially if it’s been an long period of time since your last air conditioning checkup. Technicians can examine the situation to see if a thorough cleaning can do the job. You may also want to consider having your air ducts cleaned. Professional duct cleaners can take a look to see if your indoor air quality would be enhanced from a proper cleaning.

If you have anxiety about the odors in your home, Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning can help you take a look at 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 schedule an appointment with our experts online or give us a shout at 308-624-3485.