Unusual Air Conditioning Odors And What They Could Mean

The air conditioner works as a giant dehumidifier that pulls warm air in, takes out humidity, cools the air, and then distributes the newly tempered air throughout your home. If there is one part of your air conditioner that has a bad odor, chances are, you are going to smell the odor all over the house, which is never a pleasant experience. If your air conditioner is providing you with anything other than fresh-smelling, cold air, there is definitely something wrong. Here are a few of the most common odors that can be associated with air conditioner problems and the causes that you should know as a homeowner. 

Overpowering Odor of Burning Rubber

If you smell burning rubber when you put your face next to an air conditioner vent, the first thing you should do is turn off your unit completely. Burning rubber smells are usually related to something that is overheating inside of the system, which could be the fan belts or something as simple as a condenser line that is pressed against the motor. Unfortunately, you probably will not be able to track down the source of the smell without taking the unit apart, which is a job you should leave to a professional like those at Advanced Care Heating & Cooling

Unwelcome Fragrance of  Mildew

Mildew can come across as odor in many different forms. Some homeowners will claim their air conditioner smells like dirty socks or has a musty odor. The mildew odor is indicative that there is stale moisture somewhere in your unit and it has been allowed to sit long enough to allow mildew to start to develop. This moisture could be hiding out in your ducts, in the drain lines near the condenser, or even in your air filter if the unit has been sitting unused for a while. Because mildew can lead to mold growth, you should have a professional heating and air conditioning technician come out and take a look. 

Electrical or Oily Odors 

Even though odors that may be described as electrical or even oily may sound alarming, this is one odor that should not usually be a concern. This is a common odor experience with new systems until the oil and plastics used in production have worn off. However, if your older unit continually smells funny, it never hurts to get a professional opinion. 

Your air conditioner may be doing a good job of keeping you cool, but if it makes the house smell bad, you may rather just deal with the heat. Talk to a trained HVAC specialist for information about any unusual odors you smell when you turn on your air. 


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