Causes and Cures for Smelly Air Conditioning System


Air conditioning systems offer exceptional convenience during hot seasons. However, it can only work efficiently with regular maintenance and proper cleaning. A dirty air conditioner can become a health hazard to building occupants, so air conditioner cleaning and servicing are essential no matter the weather or season.

Unclean and unmaintained air conditioners will smell due to mold and bacterial growth in the air ducts. If there is something in your establishment that reaks a different scent, it can significantly affect your employee’s comfort and productivity during work hours.

One of the most challenging building issues that many establishment owners have to deal with is foul-smelling air conditioners. You may think that it’s an issue you can disregard, but this can worsen over time and affect the occupant’s comfort, productivity, and health. We must first know the possible causes of your air conditioning’s unfamiliar smell to fix this problem.

If Your AC Smells Like Dirty Socks

If your AC smells like dirty socks, it might be due to a build-up of mold and bacteria inside the ductwork. Disease-causing bacteria and molds are harmful to human health. All air conditioners work by altering hot air into cold air. The process can lead to condensation and the creation of little droplets of water inside the AC unit.

These water droplets should drain out via the AC duct, but the moisture and leftover water sometimes cause the growth of bacteria and fungus in the AC ducts. The growth would then create a foul moldy stink in your AC, like the scent of dirty, old socks.

To fix this, you should call for air conditioner cleaning and maintenance. Duct access doors and panels allow your maintenance personnel convenient access to your ducts for easy clean-up. You will detect some greenish-black accumulation on the pipes and the ducts if mold infestation occurs.

If Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If you notice a disturbing smell of rotten eggs after turning on your AC, it might be due to a deceased animal or insect stuck inside the AC. Rats, birds, and even insects often get inside the dark chambers of air conditioners.

Decaying organic matter causes a foul smell, making it difficult to stay in the room. Immediately book AC repair services if you suspect a dead animal inside the ducts. Dispose of the animal and get your air conditioner cleaned and sterilized as soon as possible.

If Your AC Smells Like Car Exhaust

There is no acceptable explanation for your air conditioner to smell like running car exhaust. An exhaust smell most likely signifies a leak in your refrigerant line, the cooling agent inside your air conditioner.

The leak can release freon into the indoor air, a health hazard.

It is a chlorofluorocarbon, which is a common type of refrigerant used in older air conditioners, although it is now slowly phasing out.

Freon gathers heat from the indoor air and releases it outside. But it can be hazardous to the environment. Therefore, you should always check if you suspect there is a Freon leak.

If your AC emits a chemical-like smell, you should call in a professional and have it checked promptly. While waiting for the repairs, you can reduce the smell of freon by opening the windows and ensuring your home has proper ventilation. Doing so can keep the smell out and prevent any dangerous effects from the chemical leak.

Final Thoughts

Funny and unfamiliar smells from your air conditioners can be dangerous. Identify the probable causes of the situation and contact a maintenance specialist immediately. Not taking an action to solve this problem can impose health-related hazards on your occupants, affecting your productivity and building efficiency.


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