Most Common Causes of Odors from your AC System

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Your air conditioning system should be serviced every year, ideally by professionals with experience in industrial air conditioning. This is the best way to avoid issues from occurring or to diagnose them early and deal with them before they either become more serious or damage your system permanently.

Of course, no matter how well you care for your AC system you can still experience issues. When this happens you’ll want to get professional help to resolve the problem. But, it can also help to have an idea of what you are dealing with.

The good news is that when your air conditioner smells, it is most likely to be one of the following causes:

Car Exhaust Smell

If your air conditioner is smelling like a car exhaust then the most likely cause is the chemicals in the system, specifically the refrigerant. This usually operates in a sealed environment. However, if your system develops a refrigerant leak the leaking fluid will be heated by the unit and you will notice an aroma like a car exhaust.

The refrigerant inside your air conditioner is not beneficial to the environment and can even be hazardous to your health. You’ll want to turn the unit off, keep your home ventilated, and get professional help as quickly as possible.

Electrical Burning

It can be difficult to locate the source of an electrical burning smell as there are so many electrical appliances in your home. However, if the source appears to be the AC unit then the most likely cause is one of the circuit boards.

Unfortunately, there are several electrical components in the AC unit, including the fans, compressors, and an array of wires. You will need to inspect each one before you can identify the damaged one and replace the part.

But, before you panic, you should note that dust can settle in your unit and create a burning aroma. This often happens when you first turn your AC on and is nothing to worry about.

Rotten Eggs

Rotten eggs are one of the most unpleasant aromas you’ll experience from your AC unit. The good news is that it is unlikely to be an issue with your unit! This smell is generally associated with animals having died inside your unit. As they die and decompose they will emit a variety of foul smells.

The first place to check is your ducts and, while you are locating the decomposing animal, you’ll need to keep the unit turned off. Decomposing remains that enter the electrical section can cause damage.

Musty Smell

This is the most common smell associated with air conditioners and is usually a result of excess water. This may mean a blockage in the drain lines, an excessive amount of water in the drain pan, or a leak in or around the system.

You will have to locate the source of the water and eliminate any associated issues to remove the aroma. Cleaning the device at the same time will help to ensure it continues to work efficiently.

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