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Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Bad and How to Fix It? 6/22/2022

Imagine that you return home after a long and tiring day. You freshen up and turn on the air conditioner to relax and watch your favorite show. Soon, a bad stench fills the rooms, forcing you to turn off the AC.

When your air conditioner is clean and works properly, you should not smell anything weird. However, unexpected noises and odd smells are a clue that something might be wrong. If your air conditioner did not receive proper maintenance, it is a clear sign that you would require professional AC service.

Types of Air Conditioner Smells. Possible Causes and Solutions

One of the most serious things homeowners often deal with is bad AC smells. However, the problem is that you do not know if the smell comes from the unit, the type of smell, and its issues and solutions.

Let us look at the some of the most common smells:

Rotten Eggs

An air conditioner smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur indicates a gas leak in the house. The gas is entering the ductwork. Remember, natural gas is a hazardous substance that can catch fire, explode, and severely reduce oxygen levels in the bloodstream. Inhaling the gas might result in fatal consequences.

In such a scenario, ensure to turn off the gas supply if you can do it safely. Ask everyone to leave the house. Do not forget to call the emergency helpline to report the leak.

Dirty Socks

The smell of funky feet, dirty socks, or “eau de sweat socks” indicates an aroma caused due to stagnant water and the growth of bacteria in the air conditioner. Although it emits a foul smell, the smell is not deadly.

If you are experiencing this type of smell, it is essential to change the air filters. The air filters might be wet or clogged. Now call an air conditioner installation in Grapevine to clean your appliance, especially an evaporator coil and the drain.

Musty Mildew

Moisture escaping the airflow causes excess dampness. Besides, it gets trapped in the ducts, leading to mold and mildew growth in the ductwork.

In such a case, you must check your AC filter for moisture and blockage. However, if that does not help, call a professional AC service to clear the condensate line and the ductwork.


If you are experiencing a faint scent of burning after you first turn on the AC, there is nothing to worry about. However, a string burnt, or gunpowder odor indicates an electrical fire hazard, a short circuit motor overheating, and frayed wiring that might have a spark.

For a faint small, it is better to wait for a couple of minutes and see if it dissipates itself. However, if you find a more pungent odor, switch off the system, evacuate your home, and call the emergency service. Once the situation is stable, call your professional air conditioner installation in Grapevine.

Cigarette Smoke

You might feel the scent of a cigarette when someone frequently smokes indoors. This is because your air conditioner's evaporator coil absorbs the stale smoke and then recycles it throughout the home.

If you have a frequently smoking member, it is essential that your air conditioner must undergo regular cleaning at least once a month. Besides, do not forget to get your air conditioner serviced at least once a year by expert cleaning and services.