Woman wondering why her AC is acting up

Why does it smell bad when my air conditioner runs?

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

If it doesn’t smell like rotten eggs, you probably have a different problem.

Just like anything in your indoor space, if your air conditioner isn’t cleaned properly 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 most common sources of odors with air conditioners. It can happen with the coils, drain pain, air ducts or even your filter. However, ongoing maintenance can help prevent this buildup and reduce the odds that an unfriendly smell starts dispersing throughout your space.

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

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 usual culprit for air conditioner odors. If it’s been a long time since you’ve changed your air filter, replace it with a brand new one. We typically suggest changing your filter every few months. But it’s also important to keep in mind other factors that would require you to replace it more frequently, such as pets in the home or if a family member has allergies or asthma.

If you’ve replaced the filter and it’s not making a difference, it’s probably time to contact a professional. Especially if it’s been an long period of time since your last air conditioning examination. The pros 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 be enhanced from a proper cleaning.

If you have anxiety about the odors in your home, McCune Heating & Cooling can help you review the situation and chat about possible solutions. You should be able to enjoy your cool indoor space throughout the warmer summer months, without having to suffer with unfavorable odors. You can schedule an appointment with our experts online or give us a shout at 316-469-7994.

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