Causes of Air Conditioner Smells


When you turn your air conditioner on, you expect to feel a cool burst of refreshing air, and not smell a stale and musty odor! While A/C smells are fairly common, they’re definitely not pleasant (or good for you!). In order to eliminate foul odors, you must get to the root of the problem first.



Mold and mildew are primarily the culprit of these foul odors. As air circulates throughout your home, airborne contaminants have the opportunity to settle within the system. When you pair these contaminants with the damp and humid conditions from your A/C, mold can form. The smell released from your unit can carry throughout your home, so it’s best to take care of the problem as soon as you notice the smell.

Now that we know mold and mildew are to blame, it’s important to know where they are coming from:

Dirty Air Filter: Smells coming from your cooling system could be a result of a dirty air filter. You’ve heard us mention time and time again the importance of changing your air filters, but we aren’t kidding! Dirt and dust get captured in air filters and are released and recirculated when your unit is in use. Not only will you notice an unpleasant odor, but it might make you feel sick as well!

Debris In Your Ducts: Debris can accumulate in the ductworks of your home as air circulates. If moisture isn’t under control. The environment inside of your ducts can become damp, causing mold and mildew to form and release a musty odor.

Evaporator Coils: Through the course of normal use, dirt, dust, and other debris are deposited on the evaporator coils of your cooling system. When they’re paired with the cool environment of evaporator coils, it creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

What Should You Do?

It’s fairly simple to prevent or get rid of these smells coming for your air conditioner. WIth these small changes in your daily habits, your home can be odor free in no time:

  • Always use exhaust fans when cooking and showering.

  • Make the switch to natural cleaners which do not emit toxic fumes.

  • Vacuum floors, clean surfaces, and wash linens frequently to remove contaminants from the home.

  • Change your air filters regularly.

  • Install an air purifier.

  • Schedule a duct cleaning by your HVAC professionals.

Do you notice a smell coming from your A/C? It’s time to give A.B. May a call! For all of your air conditioning needs, we’re here to help! To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 913-370-4898  or visit our website to learn more about the services we offer. Don’t forget to connect with us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on the latest HVAC tips and trends.