4 Common HVAC Odors and What Might Be Causing Them

Unpleasant odors coming from the direction of a commercial or residential AC system can be a symptom of serious problems. As the leading provider of installation, maintenance, and repairs for commercial air conditioning in Philadelphia, we want our customers and potential customers to be able to identify these odors and their causes.

Rotten Egg Smells

The smell of sulfur or rotten eggs could be an indication of a natural gas leak at your home or business. Although natural gas is odorless, many utility providers add this pungent aroma to alert business and homeowners of a gas leak. Once this smell is detected, open the windows nearby, leave the building, and call your gas company.

Electrical Odors

If your HVAC system smells as though it’s overheating, turn the system off immediately. Check the air filters and see if they are dirty, as this restricts the airflow. If the filters are clear, turn off the electricity and call a professional HVAC technician so that they can identify the problem and repair the unit accordingly. If you attempt to fix the problem yourself, you put yourself at risk of serious injury.

Moldy or Musty Smells

One of the most common ailments of HVAC systems is the smell of mold or mildew. Condensation is often present in AC units when they are running. However, when this moisture fails to drain efficiently, it can enter the ducts and cause mold to form. Finding the area of mold within the duct system and cleaning it out will typically solve this problem. After the ducts have been cleaned, a HVAC professional can help to repair the system to ensure that the problem doesn’t come back.

A Gaseous Smell

Occasionally, when a heating system is first switched on, it can emit a smell similar to burning gas. In the summertime, dust can settle on the HVAC heat exchanger and will burn when the HVAC system is switched on. If the smell is not coming from the vents, it could be a leaky pipe fitting. In this case, we recommend calling a HVAC technician immediately.
If you notice a strange smell coming from your residential or commercial HVAC in Philadelphia, call Cold 1 Services now.


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