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Weird Smells Coming From Your Air Conditioner? Here Are the Causes & What to Do

Weird Smells Coming from Your Air Conditioner Here Are the Causes & What to Do

Unusual smells emitted from your air conditioning system are more than just an annoyance, it’s often an indicator that something isn’t working right within your system.

As a homeowner, it’s important to be aware of what you see, smell, and hear in your home, especially regarding HVAC systems. By recognizing early signs of malfunction, you can take the necessary steps to address them — ensuring your cooling system stays reliable and functional all season long.

The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. Our team is here to help you decode what’s wrong with your AC system, one strange smell at a time.

The “Dirty Sock Syndrome”

Notice a musty odor flooding your home every time you power on your air conditioning system? “Dirty Sock Syndrome” refers to unpleasant smells from microbial growth such as mold or mildew on the evaporator coil.

When dust, dirt, and moisture build up in your system, it creates the perfect environment for bacteria and mold to multiply. This funky smell invading your home and circulating through your vents can reduce indoor air quality, trigger allergies, and exacerbate respiratory issues.

How To Get Rid of the Dirty Sock Smell From Your AC

You don’t have to live with “Dirty Sock Syndrome.” There are maintenance tasks you can complete to reduce the risks of mold growth, as well as options to address current odors emanating from your AC unit.

Steps you can take include:

  • Change the air filter: Replace your air filter regularly to reduce mold growth.
  • Clean the drip pan: Clean the drip pan to remove accumulated moisture and debris.
  • Upgrading to a high-efficiency filter: Consider upgrading to a high-efficiency filter to trap more particles and prevent mold growth.
  • Get professional help: Schedule professional HVAC services if the problem persists for a thorough cleaning, inspection, or evaporator coil repair.

Burning Smells Coming From AC Unit

If a burning smell is circulating through your vents and making your home uncomfortable, it’s crucial to call a professional immediately. Burning smells can be caused by minor issues like accumulated dust or serious concerns like electrical malfunctions and overheating components.

A professional is equipped with specialized knowledge, experience, and safety precautions to root out the exact cause of your AC odor, making professional repairs or adjustments to ensure the safety and efficiency of your HVAC system.

Signs of a serious issue within your system include:

  • An acrid odor reminiscent of burning plastic or rubber.
  • Unusual sounds such as grinding or squealing.
  • Visible smoke or sparks emanating from the unit.

Trashy Smells

Foul odors emanating from your outdoor AC unit could be due to trash or small animals becoming lodged inside. Garbage or critters seeking shelter can create unpleasant smells and even obstruct airflow, affecting the efficiency of your cooling system.

A technician can safely remove any debris or animals from the unit, thoroughly clean the area, and inspect for any damage or blockages that may have occurred.

Common objects and small animals that can get caught in outdoor AC units include:

  • Leaves and debris
  • Twigs and branches
  • Dirt and mud
  • Insects, such as bees or wasps
  • Rodents, like mice or rats
  • Birds, such as sparrows or pigeons
  • Snakes or other reptiles
  • Small mammals, like squirrels or chipmunks
  • Nesting materials, including grass, straw, or nesting debris.

Whether you’re facing common AC issues or need assistance with more unusual problems, our team at John Nugent & Sons is here to help.

When To Call the AC Professionals at John Nugent & Sons

John Nugent & Sons is a trusted HVAC service provider in the Northern Virginia area, delivering reliable home services since 1975.

Our family-owned and operated company prides itself on superior customer service, high-quality products, and ensuring our technicians are equipped with the education and expertise to handle any HVAC issue efficiently.

Whether you’re dealing with a strange odor, a failed system, or urgent repairs, trust us to restore comfort to your home.

Schedule AC repair services in the Northern Virginia area when you call John Nugent & Sons at (703) 291-1926!

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