The main function of your home’s HVAC system is to control airflow and air temperature – not odors in the air. Unfortunately, you may notice that the air coming out of your vents smells “off” from time to time.
While certain odors are harmless and temporary, others may be annoying or even indicate a serious issue with your unit. Make sure you pay attention to these odors when they occur and take action if necessary.
The Smell of Smoke
If you notice a sudden and unexplained smell of smoke coming out of your vents, this is usually always going to be a bad sign. It may be able to be traced by back to some type of electrical or mechanical issue with your AC unit. There are some moving parts, such as the fan and motor that have the possibility of overheating, seizing up or even catching fire if the unit hasn’t been maintained properly. If you begin to notice a burning smell being emitted by your home’s vents, then turn off your unit at the thermostat and check the exterior unit. If you smell or see any smoke coming out of the condenser, be sure to keep the system off and contact the professionals right away.
The Other Type of Smoke
If someone smokes in your home, then your HVAC unit is going to circulate that smell throughout your house, including the inside of your unit. The smell of stale smoke can easily become attached to the condenser coils in your unit and leave behind a smelly film inside your ventilation ducts. While you may not notice this smell if you live with a smoker, if you have purchased a home where a smoker used to live, the smell may be quite evident. The good news is, professional HVAC technicians can use specialized cleaning methods to remove this smell and ensure that you have clean air to breathe.
Musty or Damp Odors
If the smell coming from your vents is similar to mildew or mold, then that is likely what the problem is. Mildew and mold can form on your unit’s coils, and in the ductwork. If it is left untreated, it may begin to spread to other parts of the home. There are several reasons this issue may occur, including insufficient insulation, blocked drainage tubes and leaky ductwork. It is essential to fix any underlying issue before moving on to cleanup the mold and mildew present.
Unfortunately, you can’t always control odors that are coming from your HVAC unit. However, when you know the signs of a problem, you will also know when you need to call for professional help. Being informed, and knowing what options are available to keep your home’s HVAC system odor-free is the best way to prevent annoying or dangerous smells. If you ever have a question about an odor you have noticed, be sure to call the professionals right away.