Air Conditioner Smells: That Could Be The Reasons

27. November 2021 | Air Conditioner

So you are getting a weird smell in your house and you have narrowed it down to your air conditioner. A smelly air conditioner can be caused due to various reasons. The smell can be different based on the problem that’s causing it. No matter what’s causing it, you should check your unit to find out the issue.

A smelly air conditioner is never a good sign. It indicates that something is wrong with your unit, which needs to be fixed immediately. The smell can be used due to burning or even mold growth. Instead of ignoring the problem, you should call a technician to look into it.

If your air conditioner smells and you want to know what it means, you are in the right place. In this post, we will cover everything that you need to know about a smelly air conditioner. We will also provide you with some suggestions to help fix it.

Different Smells

Garbage smell example Picture

If you notice a strange smell coming from your air conditioner, you know something is wrong with it, and different air conditioner smells indicate different problems. Before you start fixing your unit, you should know about the different types of AC smell.

  • Burning smell

Sometimes your air conditioner can give off a burning smell. If you notice such a smell, it means there’s an electrical problem with your unit. This kind of issue should be fixed immediately before it gets any worse.

When your AC gets overheated or has a wiring issue, it could lead to a fire hazard. If you notice a burning smell coming from your unit, turn it off immediately and call for a professional to fix it. Ask the technician to check all the parts and wiring that could be causing the issue.

  • Musty odor 

Every time you get a musty odor in your house, it doesn’t come from your socks. Sometimes it can also be caused by your air conditioner. This type of bad odor is released when your unit gets affected by mold, mildew, or dust. In this case, you need to clean your unit to get rid of all the accumulated filth. This mainly happens when you ignore your unit for too long. Just like every other electronic, your AC needs regular cleaning and maintenance. This helps it to perform smoothly and prevents any bad air conditioner smells.

To avoid musty smells coming from your unit, you need to keep it clean at all times. If possible, you should also get an air purifier as they effectively remove allergens and bacteria.

  • Garbage like smell

If your unit is smelling like garbage or rotten eggs, there are high chances that there’s a dead animal in the air ducts. There’s nothing to get surprised by this because it is very much possible.

Sometimes, pests and rodents can sneak in through pipes and take a wrong turn into an HVAC system. When they get stuck in the vents, they are unable to come out and eventually die inside the machine. In this case, you need to remove the ductwork to get the dead animal out.

  • Sewage smell

If you are getting a sewage smell from your air conditioner, it could be a sign of issues in other aspects of your home. For instance, it could be caused due to a leak or crack in plumbing.

The sewage smell from the pipes can enter the unit if they are too close to each other. The air ducts could spread the dirty smell throughout the room. If you can relate to this, you need to get it fixed immediately.

  • Stale smell

If the air in your house feels a little stale, that may be caused by your AC. This type of issue can be taken care of by simply opening a window. This will allow fresh air to flow in.

You can also switch on your fan to make the air move. You don’t have to worry much about your unit cycling around the stale air. All you have to do is keep a window open, and you are good to go.

Problems You Can Fix

Fixing the Problem

As you already know, a smelly air conditioner can be caused due to an array of reasons. The good thing is some of these problems can be fixed at home, which means you don’t have to call a technician for it.

For instance, if your room is smelling stale, it means your unit is cycling stale air. In this case, you can leave the window open or switch on the fan to fix the problem.

Similarly, if you notice a sewage like smell coming from your AC, it is caused due to sewage pipes. For this, you need to clean the surrounding area of the unit placed outdoors. If you have sewage pipes close to the air ducts, make sure you clean them properly. This should fix the bad odor.

Problems A Professional Needs To Fix

There are some issues for which you need to call a professional. Even if you can fix these issues – you shouldn’t. Let a professional take care of it.

If you notice a burning smell from your AC, it is most likely caused by some electrical problem. In this case, it is better to call a technician. They can check the internal parts and wiring to fix the issue.

If you have a dead animal stuck in the vents of your AC, you should call for a professional. They will be able to handle it better than you and also clean the unit. The same applies to removing mold growth in the air ducts.


If you have bad smells coming from your unit, you should pay attention to them immediately. Ignoring such a thing could lead to bigger problems. If you don’t want that to happen, you should fix your unit at the earliest.

Similiar Posts