Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Bad and How To Fix It?

Why Does My AC Smell Bad?

We adore air conditioners because they spread too much cold air into space when the outside temperature seems to be a billion degrees. But sometimes we feel the strange or bad smell from the AC that spoils the atmosphere of the entire space, which we don’t appreciate at all.

Have you ever been frustrated by the smell of AC in the house? Many people experience the same issue; some internal problems, like burning or rotten eggs, can cause the AC to smell bad.

These strange smells are a sign that your AC unit needs a professional HVAC service. So, if you have questions like why my AC smells bad and how can I stop the musty smell from the air conditioner, then this guide will help you understand it.

Let’s get started.

Why Does My Air Conditioner Have a Dirty Sock Smell?

As mentioned earlier, there are many causes of strange air conditioner smell, including the dirty- socks-like flavor. A foul smell is a common complaint, so without any ado, let’s explore two reasons why your air conditioner smells like a dirty sock with its solutions.

Air Filter Issue

Dirt, dust, or any debris that gets caught in a clogged or dirty air filter may create the perfect spot for the growth of bacteria and mold. These pollutants that accumulate over time, can lead to that typical ‘dirty sock’ smell.

Bacteria Build-up on Evaporator Coil

Your air conditioner’s evaporator coil will gradually gather moisture condensation and encourage mold growth and germs. Some may give off an unpleasant smell, like a dirty sock, as the bacteria grows.

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Like Mould?

People often experience their house smelling musty when the AC is on. Water buildup inside the unit is typically the cause of a musty or moldy smell. Water can encourage the growth of mold or fungus inside the unit, which will smell musty.

Let’s check the three common reasons behind this moldy smell from your AC.

Full Drain Pan

If it does not fully clear the bowl, stagnant water around it can lead to mold and mildew formation. Ensure your air conditioner draining pan is frequently inspected and cleaned to keep mold formation at bay and the undesirable bad smell away.

Problem With Evaporator Coil

Dirt or other pollutants settling on the evaporator coil can lead to an air supply that promotes mold development. Keeping the evaporator coil clean and operating properly will help prevent mold formation and thus ensure that your air conditioner works to its optimum capacity.

Ducts with Excess Moisture

The moisture inside the ductwork is the preferred habitat for mould. Making sure to fix and repair any leaks or condensation problems in the ducts will prevent excess moisture and avoid mold development. The mouldy smell from your air conditioner will disappear this way.

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

If ever you have suffered from a bad smell of rotten eggs from your air conditioner, the feeling of being terrified and bored would concur. Let’s uncover the potential causes behind this smell and what you can do to address them:

Dead Rodents or Birds

The stench of rotting eggs may indicate dead mice or birds in your ductwork or air conditioner. These creatures might build nests or get lost in the ductwork, and when they die, the smell spreads through your house.

Gas Leakage

Sometimes, the foul smell from your air conditioner can be attributed to gas discharge, primarily if the unit is powered by natural gas. Gas leaks can cause safety risks, so it’s critical to prevent further harm.

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Like It Is Burning?

If you’ve ever detected a burning smell from your air conditioner, don’t ignore it. Understanding why your AC unit emits this smell is essential for your safety and your system’s well-being.

Let’s check out the two common reasons behind the burning smell from your AC unit.

Overheating or Burning AC Components

The smell of burning can come from the components of your air conditioning system, which get overheated or start giving out sparks due to overuse or failure, such as the motor or the wiring. Immediate action should be taken to avoid undesired damage or fire hazards.

AC Used After a Long Period of Inactivity

If the central air conditioner has been turned off for a considerable time, dust and dirt will probably land on the main heating bodies. After the unit has been idle for this duration, the accumulated dust will vaporize which causes a temporary burning smell.

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Like Exhaust?

Even if your air conditioner operates on electricity, it still contains fluids like coolant or sealed oil in components such as the fan or compressor motor. You might detect an oil-like or exhaust-like smell in your home if these fluids leak.

If your AC emits an exhaust-like smell, it could indicate a problem with its operation that needs attention to ensure safety and proper functioning.

You’ll need an AC repair specialist to find and fix the leak. If your air conditioning system is old, it is more economical to replace it immediately. However, a specialist can review your alternatives and provide you with an estimate for each.

How To Fix Smell From Air Conditioners?

Now that we’ve identified the potential causes behind the unpleasant smells from your air conditioner let’s explore how you can tackle these issues and ensure your AC unit emits clean, fresh air.

Check the Evaporator Coil

Test whether there is any dirt or mold in the evaporator coil as these can be some of the causes of bad smells. The coil can be cleaned with a mild solution to help reduce these annoyances and enhance air quality.

Check the Drain Pan

Ensure the tray is clean and does not hold stagnant water or waste which also causes water leakage from your AC. The drain pan should be cleaned and emptied frequently to prevent mold and bacteria growth, which can lead to unpleasant aftereffects such as these smells in the air conditioner.

Assess the Condensate Line for Possible Blockage

A condensate line may be blocked, causing water to continue up your AC unit, which could lead to mold and mildew growth and, in turn, smell. Remove any remaining obstructions in your condensate line before moving on to the next one. This can give your air conditioner a clean scent and could be crucial in fixing these AC smell problems.

Check for Excess Moisture in Ducts and Vents

Look at your ducts and vents for any indication of excessive moisture or leaks; this can build the mold, leading to an unpleasant smell. Spotting these moisture problems instantly will prevent the emergence of a dank environment in your apartment.

Call AC Repair Professionals To Prevent Air Conditioning Smells

If you can’t identify the source of the smell or establish the cause of the smell coming from the air conditioner, your only best bet is to consult professional AC repair technicians. They can detect and resolve various issues to ensure that your AC unit functions harmoniously and maintains clean, fresh air in your living space.

Final Words

There are several reasons why the air conditioner could smell terrible. A smelly air conditioner can be unpleasant and unhealthy. By following these tips, you can identify the source of the odor and take steps to freshen things up. Once the issue has been located and fixed, you can experience the benefits of clean, fresh air in your AC.

If you’re not comfortable cleaning the unit yourself, or suspect a refrigerant leak, don’t hesitate to call a professional HVAC technician.

Infiniti Home Comfort has been providing exceptional AC repair services for the last 15+ years in the Ontario region. We can help you with any AC-related issues. Feel free to contact us.


    Go to Top