We’re finally experiencing some warmer days here in the Nashville area, and it won’t be long before homeowners will start running their A/C. Unfortunately, what starts out as sweet relief from toasty outdoor temps can quickly turn south when bad odors start creeping out of the vents.
So, what gives? What’s causing these unpleasant smells filling up your home? Here are some of the more common culprits…
1. Mold & Mildew Accumulation
Your vents are already cool and dark, and when you throw moisture into the equation, it lends the perfect environment for mold and mildew to form and grow. If you notice a stale, grimy smell when you crank your A/C, there’s a good chance that mold build-up is behind it, and you’ll likely have some leaks and water damage to address, too.
Mold can cause serious health complications, especially if you’re already prone to allergies and respiratory issues so don’t put off care!
And remember – just because you’re not seeing mold doesn’t mean it’s not there. Musty vent smells almost always point to mold and mildew, so don’t discount them even if you don’t see any greenery growing. Rather, get an expert on it ASAP.
2. Electrical Problems
Does it smell like something is burning? First things first, if you haven’t used your system in a bit, it could be that the dust in your vents is burning off, which is typically no cause to worry. That said, here in Nashville, most homeowners have either the A/C or the heat running all year long, so we’re guessing your system doesn’t have much time for dust to settle. That said, it’s still something to consider.
Next up, check your filter. If it’s clogged and caked, this can lead to burning smells, too.
If neither of these seem to be the problem, it’s time to call a pro! There’s a good chance that either something is broken and overheating (and needs to be repaired or replaced) or that you have some type of electrical issues which, needless to say, shouldn’t be ignored.
In the case of electrical problems, you’ll want to turn off the system entirely, then schedule an appointment with a qualified professional as soon as possible. And never attempt to resolve these issues on your own. This can be extremely dangerous and lead to serious injury.
3. Bacteria Build-Up
Certain kinds of bacteria thrive in your air duct system, and their presence can unfortunately lead to some pretty foul odors. Many liken it to dirty socks, which definitely isn’t a smell you want wafting through your living space.
As you can imagine, bacteria in your vents can also lead to poor indoor air quality, which then threatens the health and well-being of those within the home. If you’re concerned, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and ask about solutions.
4. Gas Leaks
Is the smell coming from your vents reminding you of rotten eggs? Or maybe sulfur? This usually indicates that there’s some time of gas leak present. Natural gas doesn’t have obvious odors on its own, but distributors put something in to make it smell bad, so you can be quickly alerted to potential threats.
If you find yourself in this scenario, take action immediately! Turn off your heating system and gas supply, open your windows, exit the home, and reach out to the appropriate authorities to come in and track the leak down.
5. Miscellaneous Household Odors
Sometimes lingering odors are caused by smells already present within your home from things like cooking or smoking cigarettes. Have some fur babies? They can also cause some unpleasant odors to circulate, especially if they’ve gotten into something messy outdoors! Unfortunately, these can cause allergic reactions and other symptoms like headaches and dizziness.
Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your air stays cleaner, and we’d be happy to do some troubleshooting.
We also recommend changing your filters more often if you have pets in the home, experience more foot traffic than most, or have people that smoke inside of the home. In these cases, switching them out once every 1 – 2 months is recommended.
Refrigerant leaks both impact the efficiency of your system and can trigger some less than ideal odors. They’re known to give off a chemical-like smell, which is similar to car coolant only sweeter. If you suspect you have a leak of this nature, open your windows and reach out to an expert right away, as it can lead to some dangerous scenarios. (And it’s bad for the environment, too.)
7. Dirty Filters
Dirty filters can trigger bad smells at times. If the weather is hot and humid, for instance, moisture can accumulate and cause musty, less-than-pleasant odors. You may also notice some odors if you have a busier household with pets and kiddos tracking in mud, dust, and other outdoor debris.
Fortunately, there’s a pretty easy fix to this situation – just switch the filters out! And be sure to keep an eye on them in the future because some households need to change them more often than average.
8. Decaying Animals & Nesting Materials
Air ducts can lend great spots for birds and critters to build nests and raise their little ones. If given easy access, they’ll quickly bring in leaves and outdoor debris, all of which cause clogs and invite foul odors. They’ll also likely be defecating in there – not good.
Another issue comes when animals pass away in the venting system. Sometimes they can easily get in, but struggle to get out, and the longer they’re stuck in there decaying, the more they’ll stink up the rest of your home.
Seeking Solutions? Give Us a Call!
No matter what A/C-related issues you may be experiencing, we want to help. Guarantee peace and tranquility this spring by turning to us!
Reach out online or call 615-845-4648 today.