Summer is in full-swing now, with festivals and parades, pool parties, and crowds at the ice cream shops. The blazing sun bakes pavements and sunbathers alike, fueling solar paneled homes and driving up air conditioning use all over. With such frequent use, your AC unit may need some upkeep to keep it fresh. If you notice strange smells coming from your unit, it may be time to freshen your AC.
The Need to Keep an AC Clean
While spring is generally the best time to clean an AC, it may be difficult to know the unit needs some love until the summer rolls around. The AC unit is the workhorse of the season, and it is important for it to be clean in order to work properly. If the coils in an AC’s condenser are dirty, perhaps covered in dust or dirt, it is akin to that unit being wrapped in a blanket while trying to cool the house. A unit cannot work efficiently in such conditions.
Why Does an AC Smell Bad?
The reason behind a smelly AC unit can be determined by what kind of a bad smell is produced. Sometimes a foul smell is not the worst part of the bargain.
Gas or Rotten Eggs
If you smell gas or rotten eggs coming from your AC unit, the first course of action is to open all the windows and call for professional help. Such smells can be attributed to several things, the most dangerous is natural gas. Most units are not run on gas, but some are, and natural gas is poignantly lethal. Gas smells may indicate leaking fluid lines.
Less dangerous but no less pleasant is the alternative. The smell of rotten eggs may indicate small animals—rodents, birds, reptiles—having died in the outdoor unit. The process of removing decaying animals is not an appealing one, but fortunately there are professionals who can handle the indelicate work.
A burning smell may indicate that any of the electrical components of your AC unit are, in fact, burning. If you experience this unpleasant aroma, immediately cut power to the AC. Check that the other appliances in your house are not the source of the smell, then call an HVAC technician. To merely freshen your AC isn’t quite enough in this case, even if the burning smell comes only from singed dust. Do not attempt to correct any flawed electrical work on your own.
While the house smelling like a road trip or an unfortunate night in the woods is not ideal, the smell of skunk in your home may be more insidious than unpleasant. This stink too may be due to a natural gas leak. Natural gas distributors mix methyl mercaptan (which smells like skunk) in with gas so leaks can be identified before anyone is harmed. Again, natural gas is lethal, so after opening all the windows, get out of the house if you smell skunk, and let a qualified team take care of the leak.
While you may not smoke, if your home was previously owned by people who did, residue from the smoke produced may have collected within your AC unit. This means that every time your unit is turned on, it will expel miniscule tobacco particles. This is especially bad for those who suffer from allergies or asthma and for any small children running around the house.
Replacing old filters and cleaning the coils will freshen your AC unit and remove tobacco particulates from circulation. If you smoke and wish to keep your AC unit clean, smoking outside is a more effective option.
The thing about mildew is that it’s pretty straightforward. If you smell mildew when your AC unit kicks on, it is very likely that you have mildew in your AC unit. It may also mean that mold or other fungus has crept into your ductwork. The condenser is an ideal space to take up residence for these microorganisms, since they thrive in warm, damp conditions. An antimicrobial clean should freshen your AC in the case of these interlopers.
The air coming from an air conditioner can smell like feet if the unit is clogged or especially dirty. This can happen if the unit does not drain properly—the water pools and anything that falls into it festers. The unfortunate result is a potent smell of feet.
Cleaning an AC Unit
Before you freshen your AC unit on your own, consult its warranty. It may be voided by disassembly that is not performed by a professional company. Cleaning is not always a straightforward process; there are many small and delicate pieces to consider. Repairs should always be made by professional contractors for safety reasons and to ensure the unit is repaired properly.
If you are looking for professional services to freshen your AC, give us a call at Cache Valley Heating and Air Conditioning. We can clean your unit efficiently to keep your summer fresh.