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What’s That Smell Coming From Your Ductwork?

Power Switch As Symbol For Energy And IndustryIt’s in the air, and you’re not quite sure what it is. The windows are shut, you’ve turned on the air conditioner for the first time, and instead of a stream of cool air enveloping your room, the smell overwhelms you instead.

Is this your signal of a bigger problem?

Some smells can be a sign of a serious problem. Still others are merely irritating. But how do you know the difference?

Harmless AC Smells

Mildew – an air conditioner’s job is to dehumidify the air as it cools. If excess water collected from the air is drained properly away, the lingering moisture can allow mildew to grow. Start by cleaning or replacing the filter. If the odor remains, a professional HVAC professional can clean your air conditioner and make sure it’s in top shape.

Rotting – many things can live in your air ducts. Stagnant water can collect. Injured birds or sick rodents can look for shelter. And all of it can create a rotten egg smell that seems to linger long after your AC shuts off. A quick cleaning and repair to make sure the water drain is properly functioning should do the trick.

Smoke – does someone in your home smoke? The fumes can be pulled into the condenser coil, where it can linger and continue to permeate the air for weeks, months. Cleaning the coil can fix the problem.

Hazardous AC Smells

Burning – while old smoke smell can be a sign of lingering smoke from cigarettes, an active burning smell could indicate a mechanical problem with the fan or compressor. Turn off the air conditioner and see if you notice a burning smell near the equipment. If so, its time to call in a technician.

Sewage – raw sewage is never a good sign. It can back up in a sewer line or be from a ruptured sewer vent pipe somewhere near the ductwork. Sewage can cause methane to build, which is a gas that can fill your house quickly and bring danger to your family.

Gunpowder – gunpowder has a very distinctive smell. If you notice this smell coming from a vent, it can be a sign the circuit board or fan motor is shorting out. A technician can determine where the problem lies and fix it before it causes more damage.

Have additional questions about the way your air conditioner is running this year? Please contact us today.

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