Common Causes of a Musky-Smelling HVAC System

HVAC tips in Concord, NC

Have you noticed a musty, unpleasant smell coming from your HVAC system lately? Musky HVAC smells are more than just an annoying inconvenience. They can also be a sign that something inside of your system is broken. Fortunately, most causes of a bad smell in your HVAC system are easy to fix. Once you discover the cause of the smell, you can get back to enjoying an efficient AC in no time at all. Here are some of the most common reasons your air might smell musky or stinky.

Mold and Mildew in Your System

The most frequent reason for musky smells in your HVAC system is some sort of mold or mildew. Mold and mildew are microorganisms that flourish in moist environments. Depending on how your HVAC is set up, you can get mold growing in areas like the evaporator coil. It can also get into your ductwork and vents.

If you have mold in your HVAC unit, the smell is often the first warning sign. As the mold grows and releases spores into the air, you might begin to notice that you have a headache or stuffy nose all the time. Though mold is certainly problematic, it’s simple to find and fix. You can usually get indoor air quality tests to see if you have any mold spores in the house, and a thorough HVAC cleaning can remove most mold. If your home has recurring mold infestations, you might also benefit from a sanitizing system that uses UV light to kill mold in your HVAC system.

Broken Components in Your HVAC System

When you notice any sort of musky smell in your home, take a deep breath and see whether or not the smell might conceivably be smoke. There are a lot of mechanical issues in your HVAC equipment that can break down and start to cause friction and overheating. When these broken components become too warm, they can start to send out little wisps of smoke that make your air smell off.

In many cases, a broken HVAC system won’t smell like a fresh wood fire. Even if there’s an actual fire, it can instead smell oddly chemical. This tends to happen because the overheating is melting plastic or burning metal inside of your unit. If you notice other symptoms, such as uncomfortable air temperatures, screeching noises, or a system that won’t turn on, it’s essential to turn off your HVAC equipment and get it checked as soon as possible.

Clogged Condensate Drains

As your HVAC system runs, it pulls excess humidity out of the air. Usually, your system drains this condensate outdoors. However, condensate drains are often prone to clogging. When this happens, water starts to back up. It might sit in your drain line for long periods of time, or it can build a puddle under your HVAC system.

If you have a condensate clog, expect the whole area around your HVAC unit to smell very funky. Some people notice musty smells, while others might report smells of rot or mildew. Fortunately, this cause of a stinky HVAC system is usually easy to fix. Just cleaning the drain and drying up any puddles is often enough to remove the unpleasant smell.

Gas Leaks

If your HVAC system runs on gas, any abnormal smell can be a major warning sign. A properly functioning HVAC system will vent all gas exhaust outside. However, if something goes wrong, exhaust can end up getting pulled into your system and distributed throughout your home.

A gas leak can be extremely dangerous. Not only can it cause health problems, like headaches and unconsciousness, but it can also turn small sparks into big explosions. If you notice any smells like sulfur or rotten eggs, you need to leave the house, go to a safe location, and call your gas company to test for leaks.

Our Services

With a simple service like duct cleaning, you can get your HVAC system smelling fresh and new again. All Temp Co., Inc Air Conditioning, Heating, Plumbing, & Electrical is happy to help Concord residents with a range of HVAC services. We work on all types of systems and provide a wide range of repair, maintenance, and installation services. To schedule your appointment with All Temp Co., Inc Air Conditioning, Heating, Plumbing, & Electrical, give us a call today.