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What Is That SMELL? What Is That SMELL?

Are you experiencing an unpleasant smell when your air conditioning is running? Some bad smells are more than just unpleasant, they may also be a health hazard or dangerous if ignored..

Below are a few tips to determine whether that unpleasant odor is more than just a smelly nuisance or AC problems that point to a need for immediate air conditioning maintenance or even AC repair.

Cigarette Smoke Smell from Vents

If you or someone in your home smokes regularly, the smell and odors can evaporate the coil and accumulate in the filter. If you smell a stale cigarette smoke when you turn on your air conditioner you need to change the air filter and schedule a professional cleaning and tune up.

Burning Smell or Overheating

As a rule of thumb, if you smell something burning, then it probably is. . .So if you encounter a burning smell when you turn on your AC, turn off your HVAC system immediately at the breaker box. It is likely that what you are smelling is the motor overheating, faulty wiring or some other mechanical issue.

If the smell is similar to gun powder, this typically indicates a short from the AC circuit board or breaker box. If the smell is fishlike, can indicate plastic components melting.

If the burning odor persists, call the fire department and evacuate your home.

Musty Mold or Mildew Smell

An excess of moisture or humidity in your HVAC system can create mold and mildew, that flows through your duct work when the AC is turned on. To prevent this kind of problem, fix all leaks, frequently replace HVAC filters and schedule bi-annual HVAC tune-ups.

The best mold and mildew prevention are to have a whole-home dehumidifier connected directly to your HVAC system.  The dehumidifier removes the correct amount of moisture automatically from the air and deposits it to the outdoors.

A yearly full system check will help to detect mold and mildew problems, clean the coils and clear the condensate drain line.

Trash or Dead Animal Smell

If you had a critter sneak into your ductwork or HVAC system and die, you won’t have to find it…the smell when you turn on your AC or heater will find you. If this happens, immediately turn off your AC, ventilate your home and call the professionals at CENTRAL to clear out the decomposition.

Egg or Sulfur Smell

Never, ever, EVER ignore the smell of rotten eggs or sulfur. There is a good chance that you have a gas leak. Manufacturers of natural gas are required to add a chemical called mercaptan to give it that distinctive rotten-egg gas smell because natural gas is naturally odorless.

If you smell rotten eggs or a sulfur-like smell coming from your vents when the AC is turned on:

  • Do not use matches, a lighter, or have any type of open flames
  • Do not operate electrical items
  • Open all doors and windows
  • Immediately contact the gas company to turn off the gas at the meter
  • Evacuate your home
  • Do not re-enter your home until the gas company has given the “ok” and turned the gas back on for you.

The EPA states that compromised indoor air quality is responsible for many health issues in the United States. The accumulation of dirt, dust, dander, mold and mildew, pollen and so on can get into your HVAC system and circulate throughout your home causing major health threats and damaging and overworking your system. 

If you are experiencing and unusual smell when your AC system is turned on, don’t hesitate to call the professionals at CENTRAL to diagnose and treat the problem. At Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical your ‘comfort’ and ‘safety’ is always our CENTRAL concern! Call 406-756-6656 for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.

***We service Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Bigfork, Polson, Lakeside, Somers or anywhere in the surrounding Flathead.

Read 10457 times Last modified on Friday, 07 May 2021 15:49

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