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Comfy Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. Blog

These Air Conditioner Odors Mean You Need Repairs


Your AC is spitting out an awful smell, and you’re not quite sure what it is. Normally you don’t smell anything; it chills the air, increases your comfort, and that’s that. These smells are a cause for concern which means you need immediate air conditioning repair.

Let’s go over some odors that can come from your air conditioner so you know what to look out for (or rather, smell for) and when to make a repair call as a result.

Burning Smell From the Vents

This smell means you need to immediately turn your air conditioner off. If you’re reading this now and can smell a gunpowder-like odor or burning smell, shut off your air conditioner to prevent further damage.

This can come from a number of sources, most notably from an electrical component. This could be the compressor, a circuit board, or your fan motor. It could be any wiring within your air conditioner.

The burning smell could be something in your air conditioner that’s wearing out and in dire need of repair, and although it happens very rarely, there’s a chance that a fire could break out within your AC. If you smell smoke, evacuate your home and call 911, then call us for emergency repairs.

Rotten Eggs

Natural gas is treated with an odor that smells like rotten eggs. This is specifically so that inhabitants of the home can detect when there’s a gas leak and take action sooner rather than later.

But we’re talking about your air conditioner here, so what happens when this smell comes through your vents without even having your furnace on?

If you’re sure that this is how you would define that smell, it’s likely a dead animal in your ductwork. It’s not uncommon for critters to seek refuge in ducts, but if they get in and can’t get out, they meet their end and begin to stink up your home.

The best way to know if this is the problem is to find out if one vent has a stronger odor than the others. If so, that’s the trail to where the source is. This will likely require duct repair on top of everything else.

Strong Chemical Scent

Air conditioners cooled with Freon will produce a slightly sweet chemical aroma if there’s a leak. If your system doesn’t use Freon, chemical smells may come from items in your own home near the air intake for your AC.

If you have a garage with paint buckets or chemicals/adhesives, check to make sure they’re completely sealed. Find a dedicated storage area to house your cleaning chemicals and air deodorizers as well.

Your Air Conditioner is Telling You Something

That scent is a red flag to let you know something’s not right. Turn off your air conditioner, contact a repair technician, and let them take a look at your air conditioner before you continue to use it. This will help you avoid further damage from its operation. Your technician will take a look and determine the cause of the odor before providing a solution.

Contact Comfy Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. to schedule an air conditioner repair as soon as possible.

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