What’s That Smell? What to Do When Your Air Conditioning Smells Odd


By Dixie Somers 

No matter the season, our AC units are some of the most unsung heroes of our modern age. But what happens when your AC starts to give off a musty, moldy smell? Unfortunately, this is a common issue that homeowners often experience. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to resolve this problem. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what to do when the air coming from your air conditioner smells odd and how to ensure that your AC is in great condition.

Identify the Type of Odor
The first step is to identify the type of odor coming from your AC. This can help you narrow down the source of the problem and determine whether it’s something you can fix on your own or if you need to call in a professional. Some common AC smells and their potential sources include:

  • Musty or Earthy: This can be caused by mold or mildew growing inside your system or ducts.
  • Burning or Electrical: This could indicate a malfunctioning motor or electrical component.
  • Rotten Eggs or Sulfur: This can indicate a gas leak, which is a serious and potentially dangerous problem. Turn off your AC immediately and call a professional.
  • Chemical or Plastic: This may be the result of a refrigerant leak, which can also be dangerous. Call a professional to inspect your system.

Check Your Filters
Dirty filters could also lead to your AC giving off a funny smell. Over time, your filters accumulate a lot of dust and dirt, and if left uncleaned, this could cause a musty smell to come from your unit. The first thing you should do when you notice this is to check your filters and replace them if necessary. By doing so, you’ll improve the air quality and get rid of that unpleasant smell.

Schedule Regular Maintenance
Getting regular maintenance for air conditioning repair is crucial, primarily if you want to avoid any issues with your unit. A professional can detect any problems with your system, such as mold and mildew, before they become a severe issue. There are also plenty of cleaning techniques used by AC technicians that can eliminate any odd smell that comes from your unit.

Clean Your Unit’s Coils
Your air conditioning unit’s coils can quickly become dirty over time, which can lead to an unpleasant smell. Cleaning your unit’s coils is crucial to eliminate any smell and keep your unit in good operating condition. It’s best to leave this task to an AC technician, as cleaning dust and debris accumulation on air conditioner coils require special tools and chemicals.

Clean Your Ducts
If changing your air filter doesn’t solve the problem, you might have mold or mildew growing inside your ducts. This can be harder to fix, as you may need to hire a professional to clean your ducts thoroughly. However, you can try cleaning your vents with a mixture of water and vinegar to kill any mold spores on the surface.

Invest in Air Purifiers
Using an air purifier as an added layer of protection against musty and moldy smells is a great idea. An excellent air purifier will catch any particles, smells, and bacteria in the air, leaving your indoor environment clean and fresh. Investing in an air purifier will improve air quality inside your home and ensure that your AC is working efficiently.

Consider Replacing Your Unit
Unfortunately, if your AC unit is beyond repair and has a musty smell, it’s time for a replacement. Mold and mildew in your air conditioner are often hard to get rid of, and in some cases, replacing the entire unit is the only option. When you replace your AC unit, you will not have to worry about the unpleasant smell ever again.

Prevent Future Issues
To prevent future problems with odd smells coming from your AC, make sure to schedule regular maintenance checks with a professional. They can inspect your system for potential issues and perform routine cleanings to keep mold, mildew, and other problems at bay. You should also make sure to change your air filter on a regular basis and keep your ducts clean and dry.

If the air coming from your air conditioner smells odd, the first step you should take is to check what type of smell you have on your hands. Next, your filters. If that doesn’t fix the issue, it’s best to contact a professional to provide comprehensive cleaning or maintenance service. There’s also the option of investing in an air purifier to improve air quality and eliminate any smells. And, of course, if your AC unit is beyond repair, you should consider having it replaced. By following the tips mentioned above, you can keep your unit in good operating condition and enjoy those warm summer days to their fullest.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves to write for business, health and women’s interests. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.



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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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