Close up shot of industrial fan while spinning

What’s That Smell Coming From My AC Unit?

June 18, 2019

By now, all of us here in eastern North Carolina have probably turned on the air conditioning unit in our homes. It started right up, and the house cooled off. But, is there now an unpleasant smell in your home? Does it seem to get worse when your HVAC unit cuts on? That smell could be coming from your AC and is being distributed throughout your home through the vents.

Your home should be a relaxing place to get away from the heat of summer, but nothing can ruin that relaxation like a funky smell. Advance Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning in Greenville, NC is here to help! If your air conditioning smells bad, there are a few culprits that could be causing the problem. Here are different smells, what could be causing them and how you can alleviate the problem in your home!

“It Smells Like Exhaust Fumes”

Even though your air conditioner isn’t gas powered, there are fluids in the engine and other parts of your unit that can leak out and cause this type of smell. If you think a fluid leak may be the problem, this is something you will want to call a professional about!

“It Smells Like Dirty Socks”

Dirty socks, stinky feet, it all points to the same potential problem – you may be dealing with a clogged or dirty air conditioner. This odor can be caused by sitting water that isn’t draining properly. What you need is a proper cleaning, and a little tune-up too!

“It Smells Like Mildew”

This is probably the most common one we hear from folks in eastern North Carolina. This smell can mean that mildew is growing in or near your AC unit, or it can mean that you have a clogged condensate drain line causing water build up. In some cases, this smell can also mean that your air conditioner is too big for your home causing the unit to run quick cooling cycles and not adequately dehumidifying moisture build up. Once again, it is best to call an HVAC professional to have a look!

“It Smells Like Rotten Eggs”

This smell is usually an easy one to diagnose – most of the time the culprit is a dead animal. Birds and other rodents can take shelter in your air ducts during the winter, some don’t make their way out (you can guess what happens next). To get rid of the smell, you need to have your ducts cleaned to get rid of any animal remains.

“It Smells Like Something Is Burning”

If it smells like something is burning, often times this points to an electric or mechanical problem with the fan, compressor, or a shorted-out circuit board. It is important to call a HVAC expert right away to keep your unit functioning properly! Regular tune-ups and maintenance can help prevent this in the future.

“It Smells Like A Skunk”

If something smells like that horrible scent of skunk whenever the AC is running, you should inspect your gas system. A skunk smell in your HVAC system is usually caused by a gas leak and should be inspected immediately! Methyl mercaptan, which smells very similar to skunk spray, is added to natural gas and propane to help detect dangerous leaks.

Do any of these smells sound familiar? If so, contact the HVAC experts at Advance Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning in Greenville, NC. We have the knowledge and experience to figure out what is causing the smell and fix it! Don’t suffer through the stink this summer, call us to relax and enjoy your cool, and odor-free, home!