Why is My AC Giving Off a Weird Smell in Henderson, NV? Should I Be Concerned?

As the temperatures in Southern Nevada begin to rise, the air conditioning units are switched on across almost every household. Unfortunately, for some, the continual use of their air conditioners can results in unpleasant odors becoming more and more pronounced. Some of these odors can sometimes signify certain issues with the system, and with each different smell indicating distinct problems. Let’s explore some common air conditioner smells with Air Supply Heating & Air Conditioning and uncover what they could potentially mean for your air conditioner.

Should I Be Concerned if My AC Smells?

• Dirty Sock Syndrome: A frequently reported smell emanating from air conditioners is similar to dirty socks. Often, the condenser is to blame for this peculiar smell. Bacteria can sometimes grow on the condenser coils, emitting a scent similar to worn socks. If your home starts to smell like a locker room, you should quickly clean and sanitize the condenser coils as certain bacteria can be harmful.
• Smell of Burning or Gun Powder: A burning or gunpowder-like smell from the air conditioner is a red flag. The moment you detect this smell, immediately switch off the unit. There could potentially be a fire hazard, and it might be necessary to alert 911 and report a potential fire. If there’s no visible sign of smoke or fire, keep the air conditioner turned off and arrange for an HVAC service to examine the unit for any signs of electrical burns. An overheating motor or other types of damage can lead to a burning smell.
• Exhaust Fumes: It is unusual but possible for your air conditioner to emit fumes similar to automobile exhaust. If your home starts to smell like the tailpipe of a vehicle, you should be alarmed. An exhaust-like smell usually points to a fluid leak. When the fluid drops onto the motor or other hot internal components, it can emit this distinctive odor. A leaking air conditioner requires inspection to repair the leak and ensure there are no other complications.
• Garbage Smell: A trash-like smell often is a sign of the presence of pests in your air conditioning unit. Pests may invade attics or air duct systems and bring in garbage or food waste from garbage cans. Though pest issues are relatively rare in Southern Nevada as well as the Las Vegas valley area, certain neighborhoods struggle with roof rats, which could be the source of the garbage-like odors.
• Musty Odor: If your air conditioner is emitting a musty smell, it likely means there is excessive moisture in the system. Excess moisture in the air ducts can result in mold and mildew formation, which are the usual culprits for musty odors. Mold can pose health risks, so it’s essential to identify the cause of condensation and the growth of mold or mildew in your air ducts when you encounter a musty odor.

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If your air conditioning system has any odd or unpleasant odor, you should have your system checked, inspected and repaired. To help get to the bottom of those unpleasant odors, contact Air Supply Heating & Air Conditioning today.