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Why Does My HVAC Unit Smell Funny when I Turn It On?

Posted by: Cooper MechanicalWednesday, November 04, 2015

Don’t miss the common warning signs that something is wrong with your heating and air conditioning system.

HVAC service technician inspecting system

If your heating and air conditioning unit could talk, what would it say? Unlike Lassie, your HVAC system can’t bark when danger is lurking nearby; nor can it complain of aches and pains at the end of a long day. It can, however, send you nonverbal signals when something isn’t right. And if you know what to look for you will be a much happier homeowner.

Here are some common warning signs to watch for in your heating and air conditioning system:

1. Wet and Moldy?

The most common smell that comes from a HVAC unit is caused by mold or mildew. If you detect a damp or musty odor when operating your unit, the culprit is obvious and needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. Mold and mildew can pose respiratory threats over time.

2. Rotten Eggs?

A smell similar to rotten eggs is another common complaint, and the most likely cause is a dead animal. During the summer and winter months, you are not using your heating or cooling unit respectively. This gives sick or injured animals the opportunity to crawl inside the air ducts. If they die there, you will turn on your unit after weeks of inactivity and get blasted with the potent smell of decomposition.

3. Chemical Smell?

If you have a gas leak or an electrical overload, both can affect the way your air circulation smells. Contact an expert immediately to make sure there isn’t anything putting your family at danger. A shorted out electrical board may smell like gunpowder, and isn’t as urgent as if you smell the something gaseous like methyl.

Click here to get more information about heating and air conditioning problems. Our team at Cooper Mechanical is here to help you identify warning signs and keep your HVAC working optimally.