Why Is There a Bad Smell Coming From My Air Conditioner? - Ballard Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning

Why Is There a Bad Smell Coming From My Air Conditioner?


The smell of hot, musty air conditioning is more common than you might think. But it could be bad for you and your family’s health! So what do you do?

Well, as you can imagine, there isn’t just one type of smell that comes from an A/C! Depending on what the odor is, there’s probably a different source. We’ll walk you through each potential type of A/C smell (unfortunately, none of them are the smell of freshly baked cookies!) and how to get rid of them:

1. Burning smell

A burning smell can come from any electrical parts of your system, from the compressor (which takes in hot air from your home) to the condenser (which releases the heat outside) to the capacitor (which brings power to the motor). Side note, so many parts of an air conditioner begin with the letter “c”! At any rate, if this sounds like the problem, it is only normal for the first time turning on your air conditioner for the year. It could be burning away the dust that has collected.

However, if the problem continues, you need to unplug your unit and have a professional technician look it over!

2. “Rotten eggs” odor

This kind of smell, a “sickly” kind of smell, can be caused by a leaky coil. That’s because if the coil cracks, refrigerant will leak out of it, which smells similar to rotten eggs! You may need to replace the coil depending on how old your unit is – the older it is, it may be better just to get a new unit and avoid costly repairs!

The smell of rotten eggs can also be caused by a natural gas leak. If you’re thinking to yourself, “But natural gas doesn’t have a smell!” you would be correct. But actually, many utility companies artificially add a rotten-egg-like smell to natural gas so that if there’s a leak, you know it. So, if your air conditioner stinks this way, it can be very dangerous for your health (as natural gas reduces oxygen).

Last one to call Ballard (909-297-1914) is a “rotten egg”!

3. “Stale air” or “old gym socks” odor

This is probably the most common kind of A/C stink. Often the culprit is mold or mildew (which, as you know, is also not great for your respiratory health). The reason for mold growth is that the condensation in your A/C is not able to drain properly. If there’s a problem with moisture not draining from your A/C, then the moisture ends up in the ducts, and can grow mold over time. No thanks! Call Ballard to see if a clogged up condensate drain is the source of this issue.

These air conditioner problems really stink!  But don’t worry – Ballard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning has got you covered. If you’re dealing with A/C odors or any other HVAC-related issues in your Inland Empire home, schedule an appointment online or call 909-297-1914!

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