Why Your Air Conditioner Produces a Foul Stench

Posted: 2019-06-27

Now that summer is officially here, you must be relieved, knowing that your air conditioner is there to keep you and your family comfortable. However, if the cold air smells bad, this could indicate a serious problem.

Four Seasons Air Specialists is your top HVAC company in White Bear MN that offers premier air conditioner maintenance and repair.

Here are some reasons why the air coming out of your AC is not as fresh as you would have expected.

Dirty Sock Smell

This is usually caused by the accumulation of mold, mildew, and bacteria inside the system. The stench comes from sitting water that is not draining properly, which collects and begins to produce an awful smell. The smell typically starts on the evaporator coils, which becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and mold due to excessive moisture. Other reasons for your air conditioner to produce a dirty sock smell include ice formation on coils and below average airflow.

This problem can be fixed by using a germicidal ultraviolet (UV) lamp, which can kill the mold. For thorough cleaning and sanitizing of your entire AC system, call your preferred AC professional.

Rotten Egg Smell

If you smell rotten eggs coming from your AC, this can mean that you have a far-reaching problem to deal with. A rotten egg smell can be caused by a number of reasons, including a decaying animal trapped inside the system. Birds and rodents have their way of getting inside your home. When they die, the decaying animal creates a nasty smell, which is then circulated by your air conditioner. Another possible reason for a rotten egg smell is a potentially deadly natural gas leak. It’s best to leave the inspecting and troubleshooting to HVAC professionals since the job includes disassembly of system parts.

Once you smell rotten eggs coming from your air conditioner, open the windows in your home and get out of the house immediately. Then, call your gas company to identify and seal the leak and contact an HVAC professional right away.

Burning Smell

This is a rather serious problem that needs immediate attention. If you smell that there’s something burning in your AC system, this could mean that the motor is overheating, a wiring issue, or other mechanical trouble. Be sure to turn the system off at once from the breaker. There are times when the smell is more like gunpowder, which means there’s an electrical short from the air conditioner’s circuit board or fan motor.

If you still smell the burning odor, get out of the home and contact the fire department. Melting plastic parts can cause your AC to release a rotten egg smell. Once the fire department declares that your home is safe, be sure to call an HVAC professional to make the necessary repairs on your AC.

Musty Smell

If your air conditioner produces a musty odor, it’s highly likely that mold and mildew are to blame. This is a very serious problem because these contaminants can compromise your health, especially for kids, the elderly, or those with preexisting respiratory conditions.

This could be caused by a dirty evaporator coil, which is the part that cools your air. This component is prone to develop mold and mildew because of too much condensation. Dust and dirt usually stay on the coils because of the wet conditions, giving mold the food it needs to develop and spread.

Your air conditioner can also produce a musty smell if there are leaks in your duct network. If the ducts leak in a dry area like a crawlspace, they draw in the surrounding air, making it a breeding ground for mold spores. Neglecting this problem can cause the mold to grow in the ductwork itself, which is a significant health risk.

The solution is to have a professional clean the evaporator coils, which is usually a part of a routine maintenance schedule.

Need Help? Call the AC Experts

If you need help dealing with an AC that produces nasty odors, call Four Seasons Air Specialists. Allow our qualified technicians to sniff out what’s wrong and fix it right away. We are your reliable North Oaks heating and air conditioning company serving you for more than four decades.