June 13, 2020


When temperatures rise during the summer, you want your air conditioner to be in peak functioning condition. An AC that is operating accordingly will enable you to remain cool and cozy even in the middle of a heatwave. Unfortunately, as you keep relying on your air conditioner over the years, the machine’s wear and tear are likely to lead to various malfunctions. One of the most common cooling system problems that customers complain about is the foul smell that seemingly suddenly permeates from the unit to the rest of your household. Any mysterious smell from your AC unit may indicate myriad malfunctions and needs to be addressed accordingly.

Want to know the reasons why your AC unit is suddenly giving off an unbearable odor? Here are seven possibilities.

1. Clogged Air Filter

Your AC system is likely to pick up pollutants and other particulates during its day-to-day operation. Over time, these substances build up significantly and may manifest in terms of a foul smell that spreads when the air conditioner is operating. If your air filters have unwanted particulates, then the air in your indoor environment will become unhealthy and hazardous. Make sure to clean your air filters frequently to avoid this issue. Additionally, it is also a good idea to replace a malfunctioning air filter if cleaning it does not alleviate the problem.

2. Leaking Refrigerant

If your AC unit has a small puncture or is improperly installed, it is possible that refrigerant will leak from the machine. Alternatively, eroded metal on the system can also chip off over time and allow refrigerant to escape. These leaks could lead to a chemical-like odor around the cooling system. Refrigerants, such as Freon, are lethal toxic substances. Inhaling these poisonous fumes is highly dangerous. Make certain that an expert professional technician handles such repairs.

3. Electrical Issues

In certain cases, you may notice that your AC unit is producing the odor of burning material such as plastic. This indicates that your system likely has an electrical issue. For instance, overheating of the unit could lead to various components burning up inside the machine. On the other hand, even if the unit does not overheat, exposed wiring can combust parts of the air conditioner. A dusty unit is another likely cause. If a system goes a long time without use, dust will likely accumulate on various components. When the air conditioner is finally activated, this dust will burn up and give off a pungent smell.

4. Pests

Pests like spiders and cockroaches can find their way into your equipment. When these insects decompose, the unit will give off a foul carcass-like smell. Not only is the smell unpleasant, but it is also highly hazardous. Your indoor air quality will be compromised, and the unit’s airflow will be contaminated with allergens. Clean the AC system to get rid of any pests that may be present in the ductwork.

5. Molded Condensate Line

An AC system that emits a musty odor likely has an issue with the drain line. The role of the drain line is to get rid of condensation produced by the evaporator coils. If left uncleaned, the drain line can be a breeding ground for algae and mold. With time, these unwanted growths will discharge awful smells throughout the household.

6. Molded Ductwork

Musty odors may also emanate from molded ductwork. Usually, you will notice that the smell goes away whenever the unit is not in use. Clean the ductwork if it gives off a stale smell. Additionally, make sure that the household has enough ventilation.

7. Water Accumulation

In cases where you notice that your air conditioner is leaking water, it is possible that dust, sludge, and mold have accumulated inside the unit. This is especially true if you live in a hot and humid environment. If the thermostat setting is low, the system will work harder to cool your surroundings. This will lead to a smelly puddle of condensation forming around the unit.

Contact Us Today

For reliable AC repairs in the St. Louis, MO, region, Scott-Lee Heating Company has the right solutions. We have a skilled team that is fully capable of getting rid of your AC problems. Act quickly as soon as you notice any foul odors coming from your system. In addition to AC repairs, we also offer AC installations and maintenance and even furnace repairs, installations, and maintenance. We also proudly provide metal fabrication as well as indoor air quality assessments and solutions. Contact us at Scott-Lee Heating Company today for more information on the ways we can assist you with your indoor climate comfort needs.