Woman wondering why her AC is acting up

Why does it smell bad when my air conditioner runs?

The majority of us 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 bothersome. It can greatly impact your home comfort.

Where do the smells come from?

Begin with 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 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 issue.

Just like anything in your home, if your air conditioner isn’t cleaned well or taken care of, there’s a good chance that dirt and dust will accumulate. And because components of your air conditioner aren’t clearly displayed before you, 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. Luckily, regular maintenance can help decrease this buildup and reduce the odds that an unfriendly smell starts diffusing throughout your space.

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 house.

It’s also possible that a small animal 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 common culprit for air conditioner odors. If it’s been a long time since you’ve exchanged your air filter, go ahead and replace it with a brand new one. We typically recommend changing your filter every three months. But it’s also key to keep in mind other elements 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 replaced the filter and it’s not reducing the smell, it’s probably time to contact a professional. Especially if it’s been an long period of time since your last air conditioning checkup. They 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 improve from a proper cleaning.

If you have concerns about the odors in your home, PWA Heating & Cooling Inc can help you review the situation and talk through possible solutions. You should be able to enjoy your cool indoor space during the warmer summer months, without having to suffer with unwanted odors. You can arrange an appointment with our experts online or give us a shout at 815-410-1231.

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