You depend on your AC system a lot during the long summer months and rely on it to give you fresh, cool air in your home. But sometimes, that isn’t what happens. You’re not alone if you’ve noticed an unpleasant smell coming from your air conditioning unit.

Air conditioning units can develop bad smells over time, and while some may be harmless, others can be health risks. Here are some of the most common reasons why your AC unit smells terrible and what you can do to prevent it.

4 Reasons Why Your AC Smells Bad

A smelly AC unit can be caused by various factors, from mold and bacteria growth to dirty air filters and leaky ducts. Here are the most common reasons why your AC smells bad.

1. Mold, Mildew & Bacteria Growth

One of the most common causes of a bad-smelling AC unit is mold, mildew, and bacteria growth. These microorganisms thrive in dark, damp environments. Unfortunately, this makes your AC unit an ideal breeding ground. 

The growths can have a musty, moldy smell. To make the issue worse, when you turn on your AC, the air blowing through the unit can push the contaminants and spread them throughout your home.

2. Dirty Air Filters

Another reason your AC unit might smell bad is dirty air filters; air filters trap dust, dirt, and other particles that can circulate throughout your home. Over time, these particles can accumulate on the filter, reducing its effectiveness and causing unpleasant odors.

3. Leaky Ducts

If your AC unit smells bad, it could be due to leaky ducts. When your ducts leak, air can escape and pick up odors from inside the walls or attic.

This can result in unpleasant smells, mainly if mold or mildew are present in the ducts. If you suspect you have leaky ducts, it’s important to have them repaired as soon as possible.

4. Gas Leaks

If you smell a rotten egg odor coming from your AC unit, it could be due to a gas leak. Natural gas is odorless, but utility companies add a chemical called mercaptan to give it a distinctive odor.

If you smell this odor, turn off your AC unit immediately and call your gas company or a professional HVAC technician.

Ways To Prevent Bad-Smelling AC Units

A smelly AC system isn’t just inconvenient; it also indicates a more significant issue. Here are some maintenance and cleaning tasks that can help prevent your cooling system from smelling musty or burnt:

  • Clean Your Air Filters: First, clean or replace your air filters regularly. This will help prevent the buildup of dust, dirt, and other matter that can cause unpleasant odors. 
  • Schedule Annual Maintenance: Consider scheduling annual maintenance with a professional HVAC technician. They can inspect your unit and identify any issues before they become major problems, which will help keep your air cleaner. 
  • Deep Clean Your AC: Schedule an annual deep cleaning for your AC unit. An annual deep cleaning is an effective way to prevent it from smelling bad. By scheduling an annual deep cleaning of your AC unit, you can remove the buildup of dirt, debris, and other smelly irritants like mold, mildew, and bacteria.
  • Invest in an Air Purifier: Consider investing in a high-quality air purifier. These devices can help trap and eliminate airborne contaminants, leaving your home smelling fresh and clean.

Choose Preferred Home Services for AC Services

A bad-smelling AC unit is more than just a nuisance. It can also be dangerous. If you’re experiencing odors coming from your AC unit, take the time to find the cause and prevent it from happening again. 

Preferred Home Services is ready to help you with your AC service needs, including deep cleaning and annual tune-upsOur team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing high-quality AC services to customers throughout the region.

With over 60,000 customers, we understand what it takes to deliver top-notch customer service. When you choose Preferred Home Services, you can trust that your AC unit will be in good hands.

Ready to get your AC unit smelling clean and fresh? Call Preferred Home Services at (843) 405-3601 to schedule your AC maintenance appointment today!