3 Common Myths About Air Conditioning Smells


Plenty of signs may indicate a problem with your home's cooling system, but noticeable odors can be among the most unpleasant. Air conditioners can produce smells for many reasons, so it's helpful to understand the difference between normal odors and smells that might be a warning sign of a more serious problem with your system.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths about how home air conditioning systems perform or what to expect while yours is running. If you're confused about an unusual smell from your home's air conditioning system, check out these three common misunderstandings and myths about unpleasant AC odors.

Myth #1: Odors Always Indicate Problems

Odors from your air conditioning vents can be a sign of trouble, but they're not always a problem you must worry about. Smells may be most common when you first turn the system on at the beginning of the spring. Mold, bacteria, and dust can take up residence on your evaporator coil during long periods of disuse, and the result can be a musty or mildew smell when you first run the system.

Note that these smells should dissipate relatively quickly. If you continue to smell mold or mildew after running your AC for a while, you may have a more serious problem. These persistent odors can indicate a dirty evaporator coil, problems with your ductwork, or even issues with your system's condensate drainage.

Myth #2: Air Conditioners Remove Smells

Every residential HVAC system includes a filter whose primary role is to protect sensitive HVAC equipment. Your air conditioner's evaporator coil and furnace's heat exchanger must remain relatively clean, and the filter prevents household dust and particles from clogging these components up. As a side effect, your filter improves indoor air quality by removing dust, pollens, and other contaminants.

However, improving air quality doesn't necessarily mean removing smells. Many particles that cause odors are too small for typical HVAC filters to catch, so running your air conditioner won't necessarily deodorize your home. If you want to use your AC system to reduce odors, consider upgrading to a charcoal filter or adding a multi-stage, whole-home air filter.

Myth #3: Air Conditioning Odors Can Make You Sick

A common misconception is that air conditioners produce odors that can cause headaches or other negative symptoms. In reality, your home's air conditioning system only circulates air already in your home. A properly maintained air conditioner will not add particles, gases, or other compounds to your environment. In fact, a well-maintained system should reduce these harmful airborne contaminants.

If running your air conditioning system produces an odor that makes you feel sick, that's a good indication of a major underlying problem. In most cases, the issue will be excessive moisture in the system promoting mold growth. An HVAC contractor can investigate and repair the problem, allowing your AC to cool your home and improve its indoor air quality.

For more information about residential air conditioning, contact a local company.


2 May 2023

Learning About HVAC Services

Hi there, I am Nadine Bachmier. I am going to discuss the various ways HVAC contractors can keep the temperatures in your business stable. HVAC contractors focus on maintaining and repairing the air conditioner, furnace, and ductwork used in your building. To keep the heating and cooling system in good shape, contractors may need to replace internal components, clean out channels, or simply perform a full upgrade. I will talk about the tools and techniques used to maintain and repair the equipment in your building. I will also share information about new products as they hit the HVAC market. I hope you will follow along and learn all you can.