Do you smell that? It may be that your nose is trying to tell you something about the state of your air conditioning system. While there are many signs to watch out for when it comes to air conditioning problems, most people aren't on the lookout for unusual smells. In spite of this, there's actually quite a bit that you can learn just by paying attention to what your nose has to tell you. Next time your AC is running, take a good whiff of the air in your home and see if you recognize any of these problematic odors.
Musty or Damp Smells
A smell of mustiness or mildew likely indicates that there is moisture in your home's ductwork. Mold spores are present in nearly every home, but they lie dormant until the proper conditions exist for them to become active. As moisture builds up in your home's ductwork, the mold is able to take hold and begin to grow. This creates a musty smell that can quickly spread throughout your entire home as it is carried by your ducts. The most likely source of moisture is at the evaporator coil, which condenses water out of the air as cool refrigerant moves through it. Often, damp, moldy smells can be traced back to a clogged condensation drain at the evaporator coil.
Dusty or Dirty Smells
Everyone likes to keep a clean home, but sometimes there can be an unpleasant odor from your AC vents that can only be described as "dusty." Luckily, this usually isn't a major problem. If a strong odor of dust is present throughout your home, then it may simply be a result of a dirty filter. As your AC filter clogs with debris, its ability to keep contaminants from making their way back into your home is reduced. This can lead to dust and other allergens spreading through your ductwork. In some cases, it may be necessary to have your ducts cleaned as well.
Pet Smells, Cigarette Smoke, or Other Household Odors
Your HVAC system pulls in air from your home through your return vents, filters it, and ultimately sends it back through your ductwork system. If your AC vents seem to be producing household odors such as smoke or pet smells, then it is likely that your filter is either clogged or simply not working properly. If you recently had a smoker in your home, then sometimes the smell of cigarette smoke can become trapped in the filter even if the filter is otherwise fine. In this case, replacing the filter is usually the best option.
More Serious Odors
If you ever smell smoke or like something's burning, then it's time to call a professional air conditioning repair person right away. This usually indicates that something in your system is overheating or that one of the electrical control boards has fried. Try to avoid using the system until you have it checked out by a professional since the problem may get worse over time.
28 August 2019
When our air conditioner broke last year, I was fairly confident that we would be left trying to choose a similar system for a bunch of money. However, our friend who works as a general contractor explained that there were all kinds of neat advances in HVAC systems that might help us out. He explained that we might be able to enjoy a quieter system or one that filters our indoor air more effectively. We liked the sound of that, so we started shopping for a new system. After finding an air conditioner that was perfect for our place, we started this blog to educate other homeowners about new technology.