Why does it smell bad when my air conditioner runs?

July 22, 2019

We install air conditioners to help us feel comfortable in our homes. But when you start to experience unpleasant odors coming from your cooling system, it’s more than just irritating. It can greatly impact your home comfort.

Where do the smells come from?

Start with 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. Make sure to let the gas company turn it back on for you. It’s not something you want to mess around with.

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

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 right in front of you, cleaning them can often go overlooked.

Buildup of mold, dirt and other particles is one of the more typical culprits of odor with air conditioners. It can take place with the coils, drain pain, air ducts or even your filter. However, routine maintenance can help avoid this buildup and reduce the odds that an unfriendly smell starts spreading throughout your house.

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

It’s also possible that a small animal 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 retrieve the animal.

What can I do?

Assess your filter. This is a common culprit for air conditioner odors. If it’s been a long time since you’ve swapped your air filter, try replacing it with a brand new one. We typically recommend changing your filter every two to three months. But it’s also vital to keep in mind other factors 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 exchanged 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 checkup. Technicians can review the situation to see if a thorough cleaning can do the job. You may also want to 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, MPC Heating & Cooling can help you assess the situation and talk through possible solutions. You should be able to enjoy your cool indoor space throughout the warmer summer months, without having to suffer with undesirable odors. You can schedule an appointment with our team online or give us a shout at 308-832-4321.