Why does my AC smell like exhaust fumes, smoke, or rotten eggs? When working optimally, an air conditioner will eject cooling, refreshing air for a more comfortable home. On the fritz, it releases dust, bacteria, uncomfortably hot air, and even odors. 

Are you deciding whether it’s better to expose your family or guests to sticky, uncomfortable humidity rather than risk foul or maybe even dangerous odors? Below, the On the Double Heating & Cooling experts share a few tips from their AC repair contractors in Lubbock, TX.

why does my ac smell

1. Exhaust Fumes

As one of the top culprits to attack your indoor air quality, smelling car exhaust fumes when you switch on your air conditioner only means one thing: a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant is a chemical fluid that absorbs heat from the surrounding air that the unit sucks in. It transfers excess to the outdoor compartment, cooling and dispersing what’s left through the AC vents and air ducts. 

Refrigerant leaks have a subtle smell, like sweet chloroform or exhaust fumes. If there’s a Freon leak or fluid spewing from your system, turn it off and open a window immediately. These fluids can be dangerous for the environment and limit oxygen intake.

2. Smoke

Living alone or with others who don’t mind you smoking in the house might seem like a treat. However, upon lighting up, the stale smoke travels through the filters and directly into the evaporator coils. The unit may cool it and return it to your household rooms, redistributing your second-hand smoke to all the rooms until more fresh air passes through the vents.

Still, it won’t be long before it lingers. “Why does my AC smell like smoke long after I put my cigarette out?” The answer lies in the air conditioning filters that trap tobacco particles and an unpleasant odor each time you light up. 

The buildup causes the sediments to break off and flow back into your breathing air. That’s why it’s a great idea to change dirty filters monthly rather than every three months if you’re a smoker.

3. Stinky Feet or Mildew Smell 

The air conditioner removes moisture from the air, so it is normal for the drain line and drip pan to have water constantly running into them. However, once dust and dander from inside your unit accumulate and flush out of this line, the complication typically clogs the system. If you don’t schedule a professional like On the Double Heating & Cooling for immediate cleaning, you risk an expensive replacement as components start to fail.

The stinky feet or musty smell originates from a clogged drain line. It generally prevents the air conditioner’s water in the drain pan from flowing freely. The dirty water remains stagnant until it begins smelling like dirty feet or socks or deteriorates into a mildew smell once bacteria and fungi form.

4. Decomposition or “Rotten Egg” Stench

It is common to hear birds and squirrels scraping around the external compartment of your HVAC unit. Sometimes, they burrow inside to make nests, getting comfortable for the upcoming season. However, this tendency also means that rodents and birds sometimes die inside the unit, decomposing to give off the smell of rotten eggs.

If you turn on a unit with the carcass still inside, these odors fill your home and can make your breathing air unbearable. Why not call a specialized technician like On the Double Heating & Cooling to restore your home’s fresh air?

5. Skunk Spray

While refrigerant leaks pose a minor health risk, an untreated skunky odor can be fatal to your family and home. Utility distributors add Methyl Mercaptan, which smells skunky, to odorless natural gas to warn residents of gas leaks. If gas is leaking from your unit or entering your air ducts and circulating your home, take action:

Conquering Household Odors On the Double

When you start wondering why the air conditioning smells, you might also need help putting your finger on the type of odor. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell what odor is drifting through your home or confirm whether it is even coming from your unit. 

Don’t worry; On the Double Heating & Cooling is one call away in Lubbock, TX. Let us run your system and root out the smell. Our five-star team can offer easy solutions.

Do you need insured and bonded contractors for superior AC maintenance services? Call On the Double Heating & Cooling at 806-549-5973 today for answers to “Why does my AC smell?” and more in Lubbock, TX.

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