May 20, 2021
Dirty Air Conditioner in Syracuse, NY

If your air conditioner malfunctions, it can make the sweltering summer in New York unbearable. One of the common issues you may encounter is unusual odors. Strange smells can indicate a malfunctioning system, and it is often a sign of a hazardous issue. To keep your home safe and comfortable, you ought to understand the different smells and what they mean.

Burning Smell From Dust and Debris

You may notice the smell of dust when you first turn on your air conditioner after the cold season. The odor will usually go away after a while. It is often debris getting pushed out of the system. You may want to change the filter to get rid of the odor.

If the odor persists, it could be a system fault. Sometimes you may detect other odors like cigarette smoke coming from your AC. Smoking in the house can leave tobacco debris on the condenser tubes, letting the smell spread to the interior.

You can remove the smell of tobacco smoke by cleaning the refrigerant tubes. It is worth noting that cleaning those pipes is an intricate process that requires an experienced hand. You can puncture the sensitive copper or increase the risk of corrosion. Consult Holbrook Heating & Air Conditioning‘s acclaimed AC repair team in Albany whenever you are in doubt.

You Notice the Smell of Mildew and Mold

Another common odor coming from the AC is a musty smell that is much like rotting wood. The pungent odor is usually a sign of developing moisture problems in your home. The humid and hot climate in New York’s summer can encourage microbial growth. The faster you address the problem, the easier it will be to eliminate it.

You should address moisture problems in your home to prevent the accumulation of mold and mildew. Holbrook Heating & Air Conditioning also recommends annual tune-ups in Albany to avoid problems that would cause mold and mildew.

For example, a clogged drain pan can shut down your system and allow water to pool around your HVAC system. Another issue could be a dirty filter. Debris and moisture can allow mildew and mold to grow, and a musty smell will engulf the interior.

Another reason you may have moisture problems is substandard insulation. The insulation material in your attic and crawlspaces may not be compliant with regulations. Without adequate protection from heat, the vapor condenses in the attic and allows mold and mildew to grow.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends attic R-values of 49 to 60 for homes in New York. You may want to consult a home audit professional to evaluate the energy efficiency of your home. Adequate insulation will also reduce the energy consumption of your air conditioner.

If you have moisture problems in your home, consider installing a humidifier for optimum comfort. The A+ rated service at Holbrook Heating & Air Conditioning includes air quality solutions in Albany. A dehumidifier removes excess vapor from your home, making the interior more comfortable.

Rotten Eggs Odor: Is Gas Leaking?

If there is a smell of rotten eggs coming from your HVAC system, it is likely a gas leak. The smell of rotten eggs is from an additive called mercaptan, which is added to make gas leaks easy to detect. Otherwise, natural gas in its pure state is odorless and colorless.

Since it is not easily detectable, a natural gas leak can be dangerous to the occupants of the building. Once the gas gets to the interior through the ductwork, it raises the risk of fire and explosions.

If you notice a leak, shut down your system immediately. Even though natural gas is non-toxic, it can cause adverse health effects with prolonged exposure. Consult Holbrook Heating & Air Conditioning‘s NATE certified professionals in Albany to prevent hazards in your home.

Once you shut down your HVAC unit, open the windows and doors to facilitate ventilation. It is not advisable to stay in the house. Ideally, you should wait until a technician arrives before you enter the building.

Your AC Smells Like Exhaust Fumes

You may notice that your central air conditioning system is releasing fumes. Even with pieces of equipment that do not use natural gas, you may detect odors similar to exhaust smoke. In most cases, it is a leakage of a critical fluid that supports the AC’s functions.

For example, a refrigerant leak may smell like exhaust fumes. The leakage usually happens when there is corrosion on the evaporator’s copper tubes. As a result, the fluid levels diminish, affecting the function of your air conditioner.

Refrigerant leaks can have significant health implications for your home and its occupants. Some ACs use fluids like Freon, which are known to cause nausea, headaches, and eye irritation. When you detect a leak in your system, call for professional assistance and open your windows for ventilation.

Decaying Animal Odor From Your Ductwork

You may notice the smell of a decaying animal coming from your ductwork. It is not unusual to find a dead mouse, rat, or other small animal stuck inside the ducts or the outdoor unit. You will have to remove the carcass to prevent the odor from getting to all parts of your home.

The first step is to locate the dead animal and dispose of it properly. Other than the ducts, the smell could also be from your attic, basement, or crawlspace. If you can’t spot it when you follow your nose, you may want to consider calling a professional to assist.

If the animal is in the ductwork, you should apply caution when removing it. Some joints along the network of ducts are sensitive and can become damaged. If it is proving challenging to extract the carcass, our AC professionals can assist with cleaning and repairs in Albany.

Plastic, Metal, or Rubber’s Burning Odor

The smell of burning wires, rubber, plastic, or metal can be a sign of a potential fire hazard in your home. It usually indicates that there is a component inside the equipment that has caught fire. The odor could be from an overheating motor or a wiring fault.

An odor of gun powder is often a sign of an electrical arc fault. When the circuit is overheating, it may give off an odor similar to gun powder. Short circuits may happen due to poor wiring after installation or maintenance.

It is wise to check the carbon monoxide detectors before the summer season. If the CO detectors go off, it is often a sign of a hazard that could have severe implications. CO poisoning can cause a wide range of health complications and can be fatal in extreme situations.

Whenever you detect an odor of burning components or gun powder, switch off your AC. Letting it run with such faults can increase the risk of a fire. Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent malfunctions that could be dangerous for your home. You may schedule a tune-up of your AC at least once a year. Ideally, maintenance should be before summer to keep the AC efficient for a busy season ahead.

You can count on the team at Holbrook Heating & Air Conditioning for exceptional AC repair, installation, and maintenance solutions in Albany. Our team also offers heating services, duct installation, duct cleaning, and air quality solutions. You can rely on Holbrook Heating & Air Conditioning‘s EPA-certified service for unrivaled solutions in Albany. Contact us today for more information.

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