Bad Smell Out of My AC What can I Do?

The heat is on, turning on your AC unit for cool air is a welcome respite from the warmth and stuffiness of your indoor.

However, the cool air carries a foul odor that is spread throughout the house. The initial reaction would be to call an AC serviceman but before hooking up there are things that you can do to save your dollars.

AC Unit

Types of Smells

When your AC unit is dissipating a foul odor after it’s kicked on don’t take it for granted – it’s not normal. Your basic knowledge of AC repair might not solve the problem so it’s time to hire the services of a professional. Here are some gross scents you might encounter and what it does to your cooling system.

  • Electrical smell

Here are some reasons why your AC unit emits a burning smell.

  • After days of inactivity, dust gathers on the interior of your AC system the heating system burns dust when turned on releasing a burning smell.
  • Clogged filters put excess strain on the electrical components resulting in a burning smell.
  • A defective capacitor can overheat the motor giving a burning smell.
  • A burning smell may come from a defective motor it can overheat from worn-out bearings.
  • Some AC systems have belt-drives made of rubber that wears out causing a rubbery smell.

AC SystemIf necessary you can opt to fire damage specialist to avoid further more serious problems.

  • The smell of rotten eggs

Most AC systems house a heat pump run by natural gas, a leak emits a rotten egg smell. A foul odor coming from a dead animal trapped inside the unit can be released through the vents too.

  • Moldy, Musty smell

The moldy smell comes from the mold growth close to the evaporator coils or the condensate drain line. A clogged drain allows still water to stay for a long period when it comes in contact with dirt on the evaporation coils it turns into a mold.

  • Skunk smell

You can smell the obnoxious odor of a skunk that pours out from your cooling system whenever your cooling system is turned on. This is caused by a gas leak which should be remedied immediately.

  • Stinky feet

It’s not your feet or your socks but the odor is from undrained water that has accumulated and remained stagnant.

How to Clean AC System

Learn how to clean your AC unit with this guide to keep it in good running condition.

  1. Power down your AC and unplug from the outlet.
  2. Remove the mounting frame and the mounting case with a screwdriver, brush away debris in and around the unit.
  3. Suck up stiffened grime, grit and any buildup with a vacuum.
  4. You can straighten curved cooling fins with a fin comb. Match the fin comb to the spacing of the cooling fins, insert the fin comb, and pull up to level the fins. Be careful, cooling fins break easily.
  5. Apply a foam cleaner on the surface of the cooling coils and brush with a nylon-bristle in the direction of the fins.
  6. Detach the grille on top of your AC to gain access to the fan, clean the fan blades with a damp cloth.
  7. Drop electric motor oil on each lubrication port.
  8. Clean the AC drain line with a vacuum to extract waste, mold removal may unclog the drain line if something is blocking it.
  9. Wash a dirty air filter and reinstall.

A well maintained AC unit will last 10 to 15 years, frequent cleaning will give you good air quality and increase the life span of your unit.

MoldCheck your AC Unit Before Calling an AC Specialist

When your AC unit conks out it never hurts to check your unit before calling a service technician this might save your money from an AC repair.

  1. If your cooling unit suddenly fails, check the power supply. Make sure the switch is in the on position. Check your lights and other electrical equipment to detect if there’s a power disruption. Head to your circuit breaker the line of your AC might have flipped.
  2. Often the thermostat is the culprit. If the screen doesn’t come on or it’s faint replace the batteries. Check the settings it might be in the off position.
  3. Check your vents someone might have closed it.
  4. Dirty filters limit airflow, some ACs turn off automatically if they don’t get enough airflow. Others will work with limited cool air. Replace or clean filters.
  5. The vents of the condenser might be blocked the lack of airflow causes it to shut down. Remove obstructions that block airflow.

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