8 Reasons Why Your Central Air Conditioner Smells Bad

8 Reasons Why Your Central Air Conditioner Smells BadDoes your air conditioner create a repellent odor when it’s activated? This is the last issue you want to deal with when you return from the gym, school, or a long day at the office.

These odors will not provide you with the reinvigorating and therapeutic sensation you were hoping to get in your house. These are the top 8 causes of disgusting air conditioner smells and how to fix them.

Drainage Line Blockages

Once a central air conditioning system has removed excess humidity from your house, it pushes the excess water down a drainage line. If you notice a musty smell from your air conditioner, it may be caused by a blockage in the drain pipe. This issue will produce a buildup of moisture in your HVAC system. Since the water is stuck in the air conditioner, it will begin to produce a stale odor that will be pushed from the central system to the air ducts in your house. The best way to eliminate this air conditioner smell is by calling a certified HVAC technician to perform an inspection and cleaning.

Central Motor Leaks

Although a central air conditioner does not rely on gas to operate, you may notice an exhaust odor due to cracks or damage to the internal motor of the system. This type of air conditioner smell may also be an indicator of an overheating motor or a wiring problem. To prevent additional damage to your air conditioner, promptly walk to your breaker panel to deactivate power to the system. 

If the bad smell from the air conditioner does not disappear, immediately travel to your neighbors house to call a certified air conditioning technician. These odors may be an indicator of dissolving parts or hardware in the HVAC system. 

Motor or Circuit Panel Short

As the central air conditioner system ages, the probability of a motor or circuit panel short increases. If you notice an air conditioner smell that resembles fireworks or gun powder, we recommend calling a professional HVAC technician. This will help avoid internal damage to expensive components of your air conditioner.

Dead Animals

When your air conditioner smells bad at the beginning of the summer season, this is an indicator of a dead animal in your ventilation system. During the cold months of the year, birds, rats, mice, and other rodents seek warm locations to take shelter and survive. However, most of these creatures will die and begin to disintegrate prior to the spring or summer. 

This will cause an odor to develop in your air ducts that closely resembles rotten eggs. To eliminate the smell, perform an inspection of the supply and return vents in your house. If you notice dead creatures in your air ducts, use a tool such as kitchen tongs or another instrument to remove it from your system. However, the likelihood of you finding dead animal remains in your air ducts is slim since you probably do not have the correct tools. We recommend booking a professional air duct cleaning appointment with a contractor.

Clogged Sewer Lines

Another common AC smell is sewage. This issue may be caused by a cracked or clogged sewer line that is located near the air ducts of your home. Since a malfunctioning sewer pipe releases odors from methane gas, we recommend contacting a licensed plumber in your area to avoid health issues.

Contaminated Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coils from a central air conditioner are responsible for removing heat from the air. Once this process is finished, the cold air is pushed into your house through your network of air ducts. If your air conditioner smells bad, this is a clear indicator of a buildup of dust and grime on the evaporator coils. To avoid the formation of mold, it’s important to have a professional clean these coils.

Smoke Infiltration

Most people are aware of the disadvantages of smoking in their home. Once you smoke indoors, it is hard to remove the odor from your house. This is because the excess smoke is absorbed by the drywalls, furniture, and carpet in your house. However, a majority of homeowners are unaware of the devastating effects smoking indoors can have on an air conditioner.

When you choose to smoke a pack of cigarettes indoors, the odors from the excess smoke may be pushed into the evaporator coil of your system. This odor will penetrate the coil and cause the smell of cigarettes to be pushed into your home each time you use the air conditioner. To eliminate this bad air conditioner smell, you will need to call a certified technician to sanitize the evaporator coil and other compartments of your air conditioning system. Unfortunately, you may also be required to replace other areas of your home such as your drywall, rugs, carpet, or furniture to eliminate this odor.

Refrigerant Leaks

If an air conditioner smells bad, the culprit may also be a refrigerant leak in your system. When a leak occurs, you will notice an odor that closely resembles acetone. Do not leave this issue unresolved. This issue may lead to health problems in your family. Additionally, the air conditioner will eventually become less efficient, which will cause the total cost of your utility bills to rise.

Air Conditioner Repair & Install Services in Pennsylvania

If your air conditioner is producing an odd odor, give our team of HVAC technicians a call by phone at (484) 474-5373 or schedule an appointment online to receive immediate help. WM Henderson provides dependable air conditioning repair, tune-up, installation, and replacement services to homes in areas of Pennsylvania such as Coatesville, Broomall, West Chester, and Conshohocken. 

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