What to Do If Your Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
The long, humid summers in Charleston, SC, mean that reliable air conditioning is vital. There’s simply no better way to stay cool and comfortable. Your AC system not only cools and dehumidifies your home, but it’s also designed to improve the air quality. So what do you do if your AC smells like rotten eggs?
What Causes Air Conditioner Smells?
Indoor air is up to five times more contaminated than the air outdoors, and most people spend the majority of their time inside. In Charleston, SC, it’s necessary to spend time indoors to escape the summer heat so that means being exposed to contaminated air.
HVAC systems use an air filter to trap and eliminate particles and contaminants that would end up in your indoor air.
The best way to ensure your indoor air quality is uncontaminated is to change the air filter regularly and to schedule regular air conditioning maintenance with a local HVAC company. Clean air blowing from your AC is odorless.
When your AC is blowing out unusual smells, you need to call your local HVAC company as a matter of priority to have it investigated.
Strange AC smells are your system’s way of letting you know that there is a problem — sometimes minor and sometimes deadly serious. All AC smells need to be inspected by a reputable local HVAC company.
Types of AC Smells You Might Notice
There are distinct smells that your AC will produce when there is a problem or a malfunction in the system. Some examples include:
Bacteria growing on the AC unit’s condenser coils usually cause this unpleasant smell. The coils work to absorb heat and cool the treated air, but when they emit the odor of stinky socks, they are letting you know they need to be cleaned by an HVAC professional.
A chemical smell from your AC is serious — it indicates that you have a possible refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant is leaking, there will also be bubbling or hissing sounds when the unit is running, and the AC won’t be cooling properly or at all. An icy buildup on your evaporator coils and refrigerant lines may also be present.
Sour Vinegar Smell
A vinegar or sour smell when your AC is running means there are clogged filters, too much condensation, or moldy ducts. Your local HVAC company can remedy the issue.
Burning or Electrical Smell
A burning or smoky smell means there’s a faulty part that is malfunctioning or broken. Capacitors, fan belts, and electrical connections will cause a burning smell if they break or are overheating.
When your AC sits unused over the cooler months in Charleston, SC, it will accumulate dust. Switching it on for the first time will blow the dust out, and it will give off a slight burning or dusty smell. It should only last for a few hours until the dust clears out.
If it isn’t improving after a few hours, call your local HVAC company to have your AC unit inspected.
There are a variety of odors that your AC unit will emit when there is a problem with it. All AC smells should be investigated so that anything serious is ruled out. However, there is one smell that is incredibly serious and requires immediate attention.
If your AC smells like rotten eggs, call for an emergency HVAC repair near Charleston, SC.
When the AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs
A strong smell of rotten eggs is very unpleasant, and when it’s coming from your air conditioning unit, it is incredibly serious. If your AC smells like rotten eggs, it almost always indicates that there’s a gas leak in your house that is leaking into your ductwork. Once it’s in your ductwork, your AC will blow it out into every room or zone.
This leak is a serious problem because natural gas is a highly hazardous substance which will not only catch fire or explode but can reduce oxygen levels in the bloodstream with often fatal consequences.
Natural gas is colorless and odorless, but because it has the potential to cause severe illness, accident, and death if it goes undetected, gas suppliers add a harmless chemical called mercaptan to give the gas its distinctive and unpleasant odor. If your AC is blowing out the distinct sulfuric smell of mercaptan, you need to act fast.
What to Do If Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your AC smells like rotten eggs, the first thing to do is to switch the AC off immediately. Don’t take any chances or wait to see if it goes away. Every moment increases the danger, so waiting is not an option.
After switching off the AC, open all of the windows, switch off the gas supply if you know how, and then leave the house immediately. Do not use your mobile phone or landline, and do not use any light switches. Make sure you take any other occupants, including pets, with you.
Once you have cleared the property, you will need to call your Charleston, SC, gas supplier and report the potential gas leak. You should also call the local fire service as a matter of priority.
Air Conditioning Maintenance
A gas leak that has entered your AC ducts is a serious problem that the experts must manage. Once the gas leak is repaired and you return to your home, your local HVAC company can provide you with an AC inspection to ensure it’s safe to use.
While a gas leak is not something that can be predicted, regular air conditioning maintenance can certainly help to minimize other AC problems that produce unusual odors.
Air conditioning maintenance is a preventative measure that will save you money as it reduces the number of AC breakdowns and repairs during the hot months. It also keeps your AC unit in the best possible condition to get you through the hot season with minimal downtime.
Your AC requires annual maintenance if it’s under three years old and twice-yearly maintenance if it’s any older.
Expert Air Conditioning Maintenance, Repairs, and Replacements
If your air conditioning unit is emitting strange smells or noises or is not doing its job properly, call the professionals at Max’s Fix-it 24/7 Heating & Air. We are your local HVAC company in Charleston, SC, and we specialize in all types of heating and cooling systems.
Call us today to schedule your air conditioning maintenance, repairs, or replacement. There is nobody more qualified to meet your cooling needs.