6 Reasons Why Your AC Smells Bad (and Possible Solutions)

6 Reasons Why Your AC Smells Bad (and Possible Solutions)

Does your house stink every time you switch on the AC? Then read on to learn why your AC smells bad and what to do about it here.

Did you know that 87% of homes in the U.S. use air conditioners? Air conditioners account for 12% of home energy expenses or an average of $265.

Costs vary, however, depending on the region. The hotter and more humid climates including the southern states like Florida and Georgia averaged at a higher price, $525.

The statistics for home energy expenses are also higher in these regions of the country. 94% of homes in the southern hot and humid areas use air conditioners.

A properly functioning AC is important and when your AC smells bad this could be a sign of trouble. Keep reading to find out some of the reasons your AC might smell and what you can do to fix it.

1. The Drip Tray Might Be Responsible for a Musty Odor

If your window AC smells bad this issue needs to be corrected right away. This isn’t only unpleasant but it can be dangerous for your health and the health of your family.

A musty smell can often mean there’s mold growing inside your air conditioner. This mold needs to be eliminated right away because it can have harmful effects on your unit and the rest of your home too.

The mold might originate in the drip tray because the dirty water that collects there is the perfect environment for mold to grow rapidly. That’s when the smell becomes stronger. Make sure you’re regularly cleaning the drip tray to avoid mold and that musty smell.

2. A Leak Could Be Responsible for Your AC Smelling Like a Car’s Exhaust

When your AC unit smells bad it can create an uncomfortable environment in your own home. Regular inspections whether you do them yourself or call a professional can help avoid any serious problems from occurring.

If you notice that when you turn on your AC it starts to smell like a car’s exhaust fumes there has to be a problem that needs correcting. The fluids that keep your air conditioner running properly might be leaking through the refrigerant line.

This type of leak can produce that strong car smell and release fumes that are toxic for the environment and your own health. In this case, it’s best to call a professional who can repair the leak properly and prevent the smell from coming back.

Make sure that you keep all your windows open while the work is being completed to keep your house cool and prevent the smell from becoming too powerful.

3. If Your Unit Smells Like Fire There Might be a Fire

Your AC unit is a mechanical piece of equipment used to cool your home in the hot summer months. It has many individual parts that make it function and any one of those parts can break and create a problem.

If you smell something burning in your AC unit there’s a good chance that a malfunctioning part might be. The most important thing to do is turn off your air conditioner and wait to see if the smell subsides. If it doesn’t then a call to the fire department might be necessary.

If the smell goes away but comes back the next time you turn on the unit, these signs might be pointing to the fact that your unit might be too old and replacement might be better than repair. Either way, it’s best to call an AC technician who can figure out what problem your unit might be having and the best solution for it.

4. The Smell of Urine Can Be the Result of Mold

There are multiple reasons why there’s a bad smell coming from the AC unit but if you smell urine every time you turn on your unit, it could be because there’s mold growing inside it. While mold can take on different odours like must or even sweaty socks, when you smell urine you’re smelling the mold mycotoxins.

These byproducts are incredibly harmful to your health and can cause allergy symptoms for people who suffer from respiratory conditions. Checking your system and removing the mould should solve this issue and get rid of the bad smell.

5. If Your Unit Smells Like Cigarette Smoke You Might Have a Dirty Filter

A filter captures all the dust and dirt particles and traps them so the air that circulates through your home is clean and fresh. However, when an air filter hasn’t been changed in a long time it can make your AC smell bad.

If someone in your home smokes a lot, the smoke will move through the air ducts and into the filter and when the unit turns back on it’ll push that smell back into your home. An easy fix to this bad smell is to change your air filter at least every three months.

Your air filter should be replaced more often if there’s been recent construction in your home or if you have pets that shed a lot of hair as well.

6. An Animal Carcass Can Make Your AC Smell Like Rotten Eggs

If you start to notice an odour coming from your unit that smells like rotten eggs there’s a chance that an animal carcass is rotting somewhere in your unit. AC air smells bad when an animal accidentally gets stuck and starts to decompose in the unit.

Insects, rodents, birds, and other animals will give off an awful smell when they die in your unit and they can also damage it if not disposed of properly. To avoid any animals getting hurt and stuck in your unit it’s important to seal any areas where they can crawl into. Removing an animal that’s already there and cleaning the area will get rid of the bad smell.

Learn About the Reasons Your AC Smells Bad

There are many distinct smells your AC can emit and many different reasons why your AC smells bad. Some of the most common are listed above with possible solutions that’ll fix your unit and remove the foul odours. Make sure you check out some of our other blogs to learn more.

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