Skip to Content
chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up chevron-right chevron-left arrow-back star phone quote checkbox-checked search wrench info shield play connection mobile coin-dollar spoon-knife ticket pushpin location gift fire feed bubbles home heart calendar price-tag credit-card clock envelop facebook instagram twitter youtube pinterest yelp google reddit linkedin envelope bbb pinterest homeadvisor angies

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Bad

Air conditioning is one of the greatest conveniences of modern life.

There are no more desired moments than coming back home after a long, boiling hot, humid summer day, turning on your AC, and breathing a sigh of relief. What can spoil such a wonderful moment?

A terrible odor. It’s never a good sign when your air conditioner smells bad. A lousy stench can take over the whole house and might even be dangerous for your health, wreak havoc on your AC system, and cost you a fortune to repair if it’s not taken care of straight away.

So let’s check out the list of possible AC smells and find out the common reasons for their occurrence, along with their solutions.

Metallic Smell

A metallic smell from AC is easy to distinguish from others as it’s the one you don’t get often. The reason for its occurrence may be the overheated components inside the HVAC. If you have an old system, there is a big possibility that old rubber and metal components will deteriorate after a while.

If the air smells like metal in your house, call for service immediately. The repairs won’t cost a fortune, but they are vital for the safety of your health, furnace, and home.

The Smell of Freon

If you detect a chemical-like smell in your house, it’s a sign of a leaking refrigerant caused by a crack in the coils. This refrigerant is called Freon (R22) or chlorofluorocarbon.

You must have thought: “Does R22 freon have an odor?” The answer is yes. A Freon leak has a faintly sweet, chloroform-like aroma. In other words, it smells like your car’s coolant but has a sweetish odor. Though its smell may not be that strong, Freon is highly toxic.

If you suspect a Freon leak, call for a certified HVAC specialist ASAP to repair it in an instant.

Burning Smell

If you notice a burning smell from your AC, turn it off immediately. When, after the check-up, you’ve detected no signs of a fire, head down to where your HVAC unit is and take a whiff.

If you feel a burning or gunpowder odor from the unit, it signals that the fan motor of your AC is beginning to overheat. It may be the reason for different electrical problems, including a faulty capacitor or worn-out bearings.

Beware of a potential fire hazard. Shut off the air conditioner and call for professionals to get your unit inspected and repaired.

The Smell of Rotten Eggs

Whenever your AC smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, don’t waste the moment and turn off your furnace, open all the windows, get out of the house and call the gas company.

The smell of rotten eggs almost always indicates a natural gas leak. High levels of gas are extremely dangerous. They may lead to loss of consciousness, and even death as gas reduces oxygen in the blood. Moreover, it’s highly flammable and explosive.

Moldy Smell

An AC that smells like mildew or mold is among the most common and frequently experienced symptoms of central HVAC systems. Such a stale and dingy smell is the cause of the accumulation of water in the drip lines or drain pan. When not draining properly, moisture can escape into the ducts and create mold.

Don’t ignore this issue. Mold increases the risk of various respiratory infections in both children and adults. So don’t put off the repairs.

The Smell of Dirt Socks

No jokes here. We are dealing with dirty coils. Sometimes they are so dirty that they may give off the smell of sweaty socks.

A dirty coil may reduce overall system effectiveness, causing higher humidity inside and less overall comfort.

Don’t take it lightly and call for HVAC professionals to clean AC coils, improve indoor air quality, and freshen up the atmosphere.

The Bottom Line

a man putting on air conditioning

Never avoid unpleasant odors from your AC. If some smells may not be that dangerous, ones like rotten eggs or gas are highly hazardous. When noticing an electrical, burning odor, or gas smell, turn off the AC unit immediately and call HVAC technicians straight away.

Meadow Air will help you with any heating and cooling system issues. It provides the most reliable HVAC services in Phoenix, AZ, and the surrounding areas.

Need to get rid of the bad smell from your AC unit in a matter of seconds? No problems! Knight’s expert HVAC service will handle all your heating, cooling, and ventilation needs — to keep you healthy, happy, and safe.