Why Does My Air Conditioner Stink?

8 reasons why my air conditioner stinks

An air conditioner is one of the fundamental assets in a home. Its function is to create a comfortable and suitable environment for everyone to live in. just like any other appliance at home has issues at one point or another, the airconditioner also faces some technical disasters if not well maintained by the owner.

Think of a scenario where you come home all fatigued from work or even school with hopes of just relaxing and enjoying the cool air in your home. Surprisingly, a very foul smell as terrible as the smell of dirty feet or socks welcomes you. The cause of the smell is some dysfunctionality of your expensively purchased air conditioner.

This can be quite embarrassing not only to you but also to anyone else who lives in the house. At this point, one is advised to urgently contact a trusted air conditioner technician to come to their rescue. However, it is important to know what exactly causes the different disturbing smells in your air conditioner.

Causes of bad odor in your air conditioner

1. Clogged vents (air conditioner smells like dirty feet)

This is a common problem among air conditioners. Remember that an air conditioner is a cooling unit whose whole process produces moisture. The moisture is supposed to be drained through the vents or the pans. If this water is supposedly not drained well or completely, it might cause the growth of fungus and mold inside the vents of the air conditioner. This, eventually leads to the clogging of the air conditioner. At this point, the air conditioning unit smells bad (like dirty socks).it is advisable to let the cleaning of the AC be done by an expert at all times.

2. Short circuits (air conditioner produces odor like gun powders)

An air conditioner is made up of many parts. Some are interconnected through circuits or wiring. This can be a difficult task to understand most if you have little knowledge concerning the electrical issue. When the motor of the fan or the circuit in the air conditioner is shorted, the air conditioning unit may produce a funny gun powder-ish smell. At this point, the best thing to do is to call an HVAC technician to help rule out the disaster.

3. Dead animals in the air ducts (air conditioning unit smells like rotten eggs)

One thing about rotten eggs is their terrible smell and a sane human being would not want to come across that leave alone deal with it in their own homes. Sometimes, we are not lucky enough when it comes to our air conditioners. If your air conditioner emits a smell like that of rotten eggs when turned on, the main reason could be because an animal most likely a bird could have died and decomposed in one of the air ducts of the air conditioner where they take shelter during winter. This is quite uncomfortable and should immediately be cleaned by a trained experienced technician.

4. Leaking fluids (air conditioner produces exhaust fumes smell)

Not all air conditioners are powered by gas. Some run on fluids like refrigerants. Sometimes, these fluids in the engine or different parts of the unit might start leaking. As an AC owner, you might or might not notice the leak until when the air conditioner starts acting up by producing a funny exhaust fumes smell. This is when you call a technician to handle the appliance’s faults because doing it yourself might cause more harm than good to the air conditioner.

5. Leaking gas (air conditioner emits skunk-like odor)

A skunk is an animal well known for squirting a very foul smell as a mechanism to scare away people. Think of a scenario where you turn on your air conditioner and a terrible smell circulates in your room or home. This could be a clear indication that gas (methyl mercaptan) is leaking into your unit into the duct tapes. This is a gas that could pose danger to your family members or coworkers if your unit is at your workplace. The immediate action to do is to contact an HVAC contractor while evacuating the room.

6. Long inactivity period (AC smells like burning plastic)

When an air conditioner is left in an inactive state for a while, air particles tend to settle on the unit. Therefore, when the unit is finally turned on air particles are burned off and immediately produce a horrible smell. This is not quite a big problem unless the smell goes on for a while and is out of control. You are advised to call atechnician to help solve the issue.

7. Dirty filters (air conditioner smells musty)

As a maintenance practice, filters should be changed regularly like once every month. Some homeowners forget to do this or knowingly neglect the duty. As a result, moisture is accumulated in your filters in the air conditioning unit. It might cause a wired musty smell in your house leaving you with no option but to call a technician who will professionally clean your ducts and change the filters for you.

8. Home smokers (air conditioner might emit cigarette- like smell)

Smoking at home is also another reason why your air conditioner stinks of cigarette smoke. It is quite a disturbing smell as it might cause allergies to the family members too. You might be asking how is smoking a cigarette and an air conditioner in my house related. The answer is quite simple. In the air conditioning unit, the filters and the evaporator coil absorb the smell from the cigarette smoke. Eventually, when the air conditioner is turned on, the cigarette smell absorbed in the filters is released together with the cool air circulating evenly in your room /house hence the cigarette smell.

It is seen that most of these nasty odors produced by the air conditioner are partly caused by poor maintenance practices by the owners of the AC unit. Therefore, to avoid all the embarrassment and discomfort caused by these foul smells, it is important to maintain our air conditioning units. For the other issues whose causes are inevitable make sure to call a professional HVAC contractor to avoid accidents or further damage to your air conditioning unit.

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