AC’s or air conditioners are part and parcel of life these days. People, especially in the hotter regions of the world, turn to ACs to get relief from the excessive heat and humidity they encounter in the course of their daily lives. But having an AC means another potential source of electronic and mechanical issues. Thankfully with an AC, you get abundant clues into what exactly is going on in the machine innards through its very smell.

If you have experienced uncommon smells coming from your AC, the first thing to do is make sure that it is the AC that is the source of the odor. You can do this by checking on whether the smell is there only when the machine is functioning.

Following that, you need to trace the scent to the AC vents. This will help to ensure that the AC is the source of the smell. In many cases, that is not as easy as it sounds as the scent is familiar, but you can’t trace where it is coming from.

The smell of cigarette smoke and dirty diapers is often the result of the AC sucking in smelly air. They might lead to situations where you experience such familiar smells that are there in a different place.

Through the following information, the experts at get you up to date with different kinds of AC smells and what they might potentially mean:

Non-Harmful AC Vent Odors

  • Mildew

Mildew is perhaps the commonest odor to come out of AC vents. The scent is because ACs not only cool the air but also serve to dehumidify them. It often so happens that the drainage of excess air humidity collected as water doesn’t correctly occur.

Residual humid water, in turn, facilitates the growth of mildew and mold. Keep in mind that dirty filters are a common mold growing source and must replace them from time to time. If this fails in getting rid of the smell, then it is time to call in the professionals.

  • The Smell Of Stinky Feet

This odor can be a result of water collected in the AC that has stagnated, leading to the stinky feet smell emanating from the machine’s vents. You need to clean your device if this occurs and drain away the water to get rid of the problem.

  • Rotting Garbage

It sometimes might happen that sick or injured birds and rodents enter the air ducts and die there. They start to decompose, resulting in the smell of rotten eggs emanating from your AC vents.

However, it is gross to think about the prospect, but thankfully it’s not as dangerous as it is unpleasant. But you must call in a professional to remove the dead animal and get back your happy, cheerful AC smell.

  • Smell Of Old Cigarette Smoke

Sometimes the fumes of the smoke emanating from cigarettes get trapped up in the evaporator coil. The smell penetrates the coil, and every time you switch on your AC machine, you get the smell of cigarettes. You can remedy the issue by cleaning your evaporator coil.

Dangerous AC Vent Smells

  • Burning

Burning smells might result from problems with the compressor or fan. Turn off your AC immediately when you get this smell and check for signs of burning in your AC equipment. Such scents require the immediate attention of an HVAC technician to avert potential fires.

  • Sewage Smell

The smell of raw sewage from your AC typically is a result of a ruptured sewer vent or line in the vicinity of the machine ductwork. The methane coming from the backup sewer lines is enough to fill your place with its foul smell. However, methane is also hazardous to health, so call in both HVAC technicians and plumbers if required.

  • Rotten Eggs

Such a smell indicates gas leaks. If you experience rotten egg smells from the AC vent, it might be that there is a gas leak near the air duct. You need to clear your house immediately and inform your gas company and AC mechanic if you suspect gag leaks in your AC machine.

  • Gunpowder Smell

Gun powder smell stands out. It might emerge from your AC vents if there is a short circuit with your AC motor or circuit board. Turn off the AC if this happens and call in an AC technician before starting it again.

  • Exhaust Fumes

Sometimes, though rarely, the fluid of the AC engine leaks out, and exhaust fumes occur. Call in qualified technicians at once!

Causes of a Smelly Air Conditioner

The commonest cause of the typical foul smells coming from your AC is extra moisture. This additional moisture might accumulate due to anyone or a combination of the following reasons:

  • The AC Unit Is Too Large

ACs need to fit in properly with the size of the room or home they are servicing. If an AC unit is too large for a room, the room will indeed cool quickly but not much dehumidification will occur as a result of the diminished cooling cycle time.

  • The Filtration Is Not Up To The Mark

ACs are commonly fitted with simple filters meant to catch air contaminants and keep them away from the cooling equipment of the AC. When such filters or advanced additional filters malfunction, the quality of air in the air supply deteriorates and one experiences common smells.

  • Coil Coverage

The AC coils serve to exchange heat from their surface area and get the cooling effect of the AC. However, with time dust and moisture may grow over the AC coils resulting in mold. In such cases, thorough cleaning of the coils is in order to prevent mold and its musty odor.

  • Clogs In The Condensate Drain

Another common cause of AC smell is clogged emerging in the condensate drainage system. Not only in the drip pan clogs are sometimes seen further down the drain line of the condensate too. If this occurs the drain line and the drip pan need to be cleaned and treated with algaecide.

Knowing the different kinds of AC smells, what causes them, and what they signify will help you take better care of your health and security. Keep things cool!