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Air Conditioner Smells Bad

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Bad?

Have you recently turned on your air conditioner only to find your house smelling foul a few minutes later?

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Dirty Sock Syndrome

There is nothing worse than coming home on a hot day and walking into an air conditioned home that smells like a dumpster.

If you have just turned your air conditioner on for the first time of the year, this is popularly known as “dirty sock syndrome” and is due to dirt and dust growth on your evaporator coil.

If your air conditioner is creating foul smelling air all of the time however, there could be several things occurring.

Here are a list of the most popular odors and their likely culprits.

Air Conditioner Smells Musty

If your air conditioner smells musty when you turn it on, you may have dust, mold or mildew growing in your duct work or indoor coil.

Mold thrives in cool, damp and dark areas and the duct work and indoor coil of your home are prime culprits for this to occur.

Your air conditioner’s job is to actually remove humidity from your home and when that humidity cannot drain properly, mold will begin to grow over time.

The only remedy to these issues is to have your duct work cleaned every few years and have maintenance performed on a regular basis to ensure no water is accumulating in the wrong spots.

It is also possible to have your evaporator coil cleaned as well to ensure nothing is growing on it that shouldn’t be.

Air Conditioner Smells Like Wet Dog

Your air conditioner uses the same filter that your furnace does, so the foul odor your may be smelling in this case may be nothing more than a dirty filter that needs to be changed.

If you have pets in your home, it’s best to check your filter every month to verify it’s not restricting too much air flow from hair that has accumulated.

Combine a dirty filter with an air conditioner water leak and you could be smelling a filter that smells like a dirty, wet dog.

Air Conditioner Burning Smell

If your air conditioner is producing a burning smell inside your home when it’s running, it more than likely has to do with the wiring and or motor inside your furnace.

Your air conditioner uses the blower motor in your furnace to move the air around your home. If the blower motor is overheating due to a clogged filter or due to old age, it can produce a burning smell throughout your home.

It’s best to call an HVAC professional to come out and check an odor such as this. Your furnace has many electrical parts that can injure you if you’re not sure what you’re doing.

 Air Conditioner Smells Like Dead Animal

If you are smelling something that resembles dead animal when you run your air conditioner, you may actually have a dead animal in your duct work somewhere.

It’s best to verify all of the previous items first such as having a clean filter and a properly working unit before assuming this to be the case.

Duct work is dark and small animals have been known to make their home in them.

If you suspect a dead animal in your duct work, it’s best to call an HVAC professional or duct cleaning company to resolve the issue.

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