Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell?

May 13, 2021
man working on air conditioner

Air conditioners can make some strange odors from time to time. There are several reasons why this happens, and some require the attention of an HVAC technician to resolve.

Motor Issue

An exhaust odor is created when there’s a problem with the motor. If you smell exhaust, you should immediately flip the switch in your breaker box to shut down your air conditioner. An experienced HVAC technician is needed to fix this problem.

Blocked Drainage Line

Your AC system has a drainage line that removes water. This line removes condensation that gets produced on the evaporator coil. If the line becomes blocked, water will collect and produce a musty smell. An HVAC technician can inspect and clean the drainage line.

Dead Animal

It sometimes happens in the winter that an animal gets into your ductwork and dies. This will produce a bad odor when you first turn on your air conditioner for the year. You may be able to remove the body yourself using tongs. Even if you’re able to do this, you may still want to have your ducts cleaned by an HVAC company.

Smoke Infiltration

If people smoke cigarettes indoors, the smoke can penetrate the condenser coils of your AC system. When this happens, you’ll smell smoke whenever your system turns on. An HVAC technician can sanitize the coils to remove this smell.

Refrigerant Leak

If you smell something like acetone, or fingernail polish remover, in your home, it’s likely that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. You need to get it repaired right away as it’s a health hazard. A refrigerant leak also makes your AC system less efficient, so your electricity bills will be higher.

McKinney Heating & Air Conditioning repairs, replaces, and tunes up air conditioners and heaters in the Fieldale, VA, area. We have NATE-certified technicians and are certified by the Building Performance Institute. We also service gas fireplaces, tankless water heaters, and generators, and we provide indoor air quality audits and solutions. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

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