Odours From Your AC System?

Smells That Could Indicate an AC Problem

You will want to be on the lookout for any signs that could indicate there is a problem with your AC unit. This is especially true given how important of a role it plays in maintaining comfort within your home. By identifying issues as soon as they crop up, you should be able to effectively prevent your AC from malfunctioning during the times when you need it the most. However, it’s not always simple to identify whether or not it’s your AC unit that is malfunctioning. Luckily, your nose can help.


lady holding her nose


Noise isn’t the best indicator because you’ll find models varying in this regard. However, one area where no properly functioning AC unit will differ is in the odour department. If your AC unit is giving off a funky odour, there is something wrong with it. If you find that your unit is giving off a strong odour every time you it runs, it’s likely got a problem that needs to be dealt with.

Telling The Difference Between AC Odours

No properly functioning AC unit should be giving off a strong odour. However, the odour it’s producing can vary depending on what’s wrong with it. No matter what though, a strong odour coming out of your AC unit is not good. Here is a good overview of what the different odors might mean.

Musty, Dirty Socks

If you find that your AC unit is giving off a smell that closely resembles musty socks taken straight from a gym locker, you are likely dealing with evaporator coils that need to be cleaned. Unfortunately, these coils can have a lot of bacteria and mold buildup that can cause them to give off a bad-smelling odour. If you are experiencing this type of smell, it’s likely going to be more concentrated and stronger in the areas where you use the most heating at night and in the morning before switching over to cooling your home.

What You Should Do: If you are experiencing this issue, you will want to call on a professional technician. That way, they can inspect and clean your evaporator coils which will help to mitigate the smell. Also, they will unclog the drain pans to ensure mold doesn’t continue growing in them. This will help to reduce the musty odour and it can keep the issue from cropping up again. A good thing you can do is always ensure your filter is clean.

Chemical Smell

If your AC unit is starting to give off a chemical odour, again it’s time to call on a professional. It means that your system likely is suffering from a refrigerant leak. This is something that can lead to your system failing. Thus, it could force you to have to replace your entire system if you’re not careful. Along with the chemical odour, there are other things that you can look for that may point to you leaking. These can include but aren’t limited to having a hissing sound while the unit is on or experiencing inconsistent temps throughout your home.

What You Should Do: If you are experiencing a chemical smell coming from your unit, it’s time to call a professional as soon as possible. You want to do this because if you’re able to catch a leak soon enough, you may luck out and only have minor fixes to deal with.

Vinegar Smell

There are plenty of different reasons you may be experiencing this. If you notice that there is an acidic smell permeating from your unit, it could be the result of having mold in your ductwork. It could also mean that your condensate pan is completely clogged. Having excess condensation is another thing that could result in a vinegar smell coming out of your unit.

What You Should Do: If you are experiencing this, you could get relief from replacing the air filter. However, if you still notice the smell after replacing it, you’ll need to call on a professional to do a more thorough inspection.

Burning Smell

This is a problem that could be caused by your HVAC system having a broken capacitor. If so, it could result in your motor overheating. It may even be caused by having loose electrical connections in your system or having a malfunctioning fan belt. There are plenty of things that could worsen if you choose to ignore these signs. For one, it could result in a fire. Because of this, it’s one of the issues that you need to call on a professional to inspect immediately.

What You Should Do: As mentioned, you want to call on a professional HVAC technician to come out as soon as you notice this. By having a trusted HVAC contractor swing by, you should be able to get the problem dealt with as safely as possible.


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Reasons You Should Choose Us

Any issues that you are experiencing with your HVAC system should be prioritized. Everyone should be swapping out air filters when needed. It’s one of the basic troubleshooting tasks that just about anyone can do. However, if you are noticing any of these odors coming from your AC unit while swapping the filters, it’s time to call on the professionals.

You can count on JD Swallow for all of your heating and cooling needs. We have trained and experienced technicians ready and waiting to assist you with any issue you’re having. They will thoroughly check what’s going on with your system and provide you with an assessment and diagnosis to get your unit working properly again.

No matter if you are looking for basic maintenance or specific troubleshooting, we’re standing by waiting for your call. Contact us today!

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