Why Does My Air Conditioning Smell Bad?

There can be many reasons for our company to handle air conditioning repair in Gainesville. The unit works erratically, the thermostat is malfunctioning, or the entire system just isn’t doing anything at all. From time to time, we’ll also go to service visits where our customers report that they’re smelling something, well, odd.

It’s true that the function of your HVAC unit is to control the circulation and temperature of air, and generally not the odor of the air itself. But sometimes, the smell of the air coming out of your vents can seem a little strange. There can be different smells, and they can indicate different issues. Read on, and we’ll talk about some of the more common smells and what they can potentially mean.

  • If you suddenly begin smelling smoke from your vents, that’s generally a bad sign. This usually means that some kind of electrical or mechanical malfunction is taking place within the a/c unit itself. Remember that the unit and the fan are comprised of moving parts and, just like any other system, they have the potential to overheat, freeze up, or even catch on fire. Should you smell something burning from the ventilation, turn off your system at the thermostat, then check the outer unit. If you continue to smell smoke or see smoke, call to set up service immediately.
  • What if you smell a different kind of smoke, the kind that comes from a cigarette? If you or someone else is a smoker, your air conditioning system can circulate tobacco smoke everywhere, including inside the vents and on the system itself. The smell can linger on the condenser coils and also leave a film inside the ventilation ducts that smells like cigarettes. If you’re a non-smoker and you’re smelling this, odds are the previous residents smoked. Call us to set up service, and we can thoroughly clean out the ducts and hardware to eliminate the odor.
  • Suppose you notice the smell of either mildew or mold? That’s because mold or mildew has probably started growing in the ducts and upon the coils. This issue can be caused by leaks in the ductwork, poor insulation, and blockages inside the drainage tubes. It’s serious, since spores from mold and mildew can create breathing problems, and they might be circulating all through the house. In a situation like this, give us a call, and we can correct the problem and thoroughly clean up your system.
  • Here in Florida, we might not need to turn the heat on too often. But it’s fairly common when you turn on the heat for the first time during the season that an unpleasant smell comes from the vent. That smell is normal and completely safe since it’s just dust that has settled on the heating element of the furnace throughout the summer. When the system is turned on, the dust starts to burn up. In a case like this, all you need to do is open a few windows. Within a few minutes, the smell should be gone.    

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