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Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell?

Today we are talking about smelly air conditioners, and when it comes to strange smells in your home, you should really be cautious about how you handle it. Certain odors can indicate that you and your family might be in danger, so it is very important that you contact us and take the proper steps to solve the problem.

We realize that not everyone is great at identifying odors. Rather than listing all of the different smells that we know can come from an AC and leaving it up to you to determine what smell is actually in your home, we thought we would list a few of the most dangerous odors and explain what to do when you detect them.

Why does my air conditioner smell like skunk odor…?

The obvious answer is that the smell may be from an actual skunk that somehow got stuck in your ductwork, or maybe sprayed near it. This is definitely a possibility, and you should have your ducts checked if you suspect an actual skunk to be the culprit. However, it’s actually more probable that you have a gas leak. Methyl mercaptan smells quite a bit like a skunk, and if it is leaking into your home, your family could be in danger.

If your air conditioner smells like a skunk, leave the house immediately and contact an HVAC company as well as your gas company.

Why does my air conditioner smell like exhaust fumes…?

It could indicate that your AC unit is leaking fluids. While your AC is powered by electricity, there are still some liquids that may be leaking from the engine and causing the exhaust fume odor.

If you detect such a smell in your home, it is important to call a professional and have the unit repaired before the issue becomes hazardous to you and your loved ones.

Why does my air conditioner smell like a sewer...?

We can’t imagine you would want to wait too long before addressing this issue, but if your air conditioner smells like a sewer, it is important that you call a professional HVAC company as soon as possible.

You most likely have a sewer line that is backed up, or the vent pipe has ruptured and methane gas is leaking into your ducts. It doesn’t take much to stink up your whole house, and methane gas is poisonous – so you don’t want to ignore this issue.

Why my AC smells like rotten eggs...?

Turn off all stoves, put out any candles, do not turn on any electrical appliances, open your doors and windows, shut off your gas from the meter, and get you and your loved ones out of the house before calling your gas company.

If your AC smells like rotten eggs, this could very well be a sign of a gas leak. Natural gas often comes with a chemical called mercaptan that gives it that sulfuric smell in order to warn us of when it's leaking.

The following smells are common, but not dangerous:
  • Mildew
  • Mold
  • Stinky feet
  • Gunpowder

These aren’t too dangerous to you or your family, but they can be extremely unpleasant. Since addressing these issues usually means working with several parts of the air conditioner and cleaning the entire unit, we suggest you hire a technician for any kind of strange smell coming from the AC.

If you are detecting a strange smell in your home, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (216) 220-2566