One of the most frustrating issues a homeowner can experience is an odor that they just can’t find. All too often, mystery smells leave homeowners scrambling to find the cause. If you’re still looking for the source of your smell, you should check the AC. Your air conditioner might have a problem that causes a foul or unpleasant odor. Find out what your smell means and if you need an air conditioning repair in Tampa.

It Smells Like Car Exhaust

Your air conditioner might have a motor, but it doesn’t have the same engine as a vehicle. For this reason, it shouldn’t smell like the exhaust from a car. If it does, there’s a problem somewhere in the system.

Under most circumstances, the exhaust-like smell comes from a lack of fluids. Namely, there’s not enough refrigerant in the system for it to perform well. Your poorly performing AC could smell like gas exhaust, and you should seek immediate help.

There are two reasons you need a quick repair. First, your system won’t last long with low refrigerant. As your AC tries to cool your home, the parts wear out and eventually break. Secondly, the Freon in your system is a serious hazard. In a contained environment, Freon doesn’t pose a threat to you. But when it leaks out of refrigerant lines, Freon is hazardous to you and your health. It’s also highly dangerous to the environment.

It Smells Like a Fire

A burning smell should put you on high alert. If your AC has a smoky or similar scent to it, you should immediately worry about your electrical components. Your HVAC system contains a long list of electrical parts, and any one of them could be awry.
Generally, a burning plastic smell is a sign that you have a component that’s burning in your AC. You should turn off your AC and call for air conditioning repair in New Tampa. If you wait, there’s a high risk of a fire.
In some cases, the smell is less like burning materials and more like burning dust. This could mean you have dust on the unit, and the dust is burning off. Usually, this occurs after the AC sits for a few months. The smell will go away after a short time, so you don’t need to take action. With that said, you should only avoid calling a professional if you’re certain the smell is from dust. It’s not worth taking any risks.

You Smell Rotten Eggs

One of the worst smells you can have in your home is rotten eggs or decay. At times, rodents or other pests get into your air conditioner system. Insects build nests in ductwork, and lizards might seek refuge. When this happens, the pests may die and emit a foul odor.
If this is the cause of your smell, you probably notice the scent as soon as your AC kicks on. It may get worse over time and cause you to become nauseous. In any case, the smell will linger unless you find the carcass.
Because your HVAC system is complex, you may not be able to find the carcass. You should call an HVAC technician to examine your ductwork for pests. Once they find the pest, they can remove it and clean the ductwork. While they are there, your technician should check for damage. When animals like rats get into the ductwork, they often cause damage.

You Smell Natural Gas

While none of the smells on this list are pleasant, some are worse than others. The smell of natural gas is one of the most alarming smells you could have in your home. It usually signifies a gas leak, and that’s not something to ignore.
Methyl Mercaptan is a gas used to give natural gas a warning scent. Because natural gas is odorless, manufacturers add a smell to it for early detection. Some people liken the scent to skunk spray. If no skunk is hanging out in front of your AC, you should turn off your gas lines. Then, call someone for help. Everyone in your home could be in danger from a natural gas leak.

You Smell Something Musty

If you notice a musty scent when your AC kicks on, you may have a dirty air filter. Even if you change your air filter out every four months, it could get dirty before it’s time for a change. When you combine that with moisture from your air, you get mold growth and the smell that comes with it.
Another possible source of the smell is mold in your drain pain or drip lines. If you have mold in your ducts, you’ll also sense a moldy odor. In some cases, you might see signs of mold growth or water damage. Water damage is a sign that you have a leak, and mold is soon to come.
As soon as you notice a moldy smell, check your filters. Replace them and see if this fixes the issue. If it doesn’t make a difference, look for mold growth or water damage and call an HVAC technician.

You Smell Cigarettes

People who smoke cigarettes often smell cigarettes coming from their HVAC system. This is because the evaporator coil and filter absorb cigarette smoke and remain in the components. Every time you turn on the AC, particles from the smoke go through your vents.
You can avoid this smell by only smoking outside. However, if this isn’t possible, you can minimize the smell by changing your air filter once a month and having someone perform regular AC maintenance.

Get Your Smells Gone with Air Conditioning Repair in Tampa

Don’t let the foul odor persist. When you think your AC is making your home smell bad, it’s time to call for assistance. Your AC could be giving you a warning sign, and you may be able to prevent a more costly repair.

The next time you need an air conditioning repair in Tampa, call us at Comfort All-Stars. We’re here to help you.

Meet the Author

company icon