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?

Focus on 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 contact the gas company. Allow the gas company turn it back on for you. It’s not something you want to risk doing on your own.

If it doesn’t smell like rotten eggs, you are likely experiencing a different issue.

Just like anything in your indoor space, if your air conditioner isn’t cleaned correctly 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 common sources of odors with air conditioners. It can take place with the coils, drain pain, air ducts or even your filter. Luckily, ongoing maintenance can help decrease this buildup and reduce the probability that an unfriendly smell starts spreading throughout your home.

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

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 get the animal.

What can I do?

Check your filter. This is a typical culprit for air conditioner odors. If it’s been a long time since you’ve exchanged your air filter, try replacing 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 switched the filter and it’s not helping, it’s probably time to contact a professional. Especially if it’s been an long period of time since your last air conditioning inspection. Technicians can review the situation to see if a thorough cleaning can do the job. You might consider having your air ducts cleaned. Professional duct cleaners can take a look to see if your indoor air quality would benefit from a proper cleaning.

If you have frustrations about the odors in your home, Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. can help you review the situation and talk through possible solutions. You should be able to enjoy your cool indoor space in the warmer summer months, without having to suffer with unfavorable odors. You can schedule an appointment with us online or give us a shout at 803-265-4208.

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