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5 Air Duct Odors: What Are Your Air Ducts Telling You?

If an odd smell is coming from your air ducts whenever your air conditioner or heater is running, unfortunately, it often means that there’s an issue with your HVAC system. Different odors indicate different types of issues, which is exactly why it’s important to know the sources of the most common air duct odors that you may encounter.

Read below to learn about what each of the following odors indicates:

  • Moldy, musty smell
  • Burning gas smell
  • “Rotten egg” smell
  • Oily smell
  • Overheating, electrical smell

Experiencing an issue with your HVAC system? The technicians from Monarch Home Services arrive fast, greet you with a smile, and renew your comfort and safety in a flash. Every step of the way, our focus is on you: your schedule, your budget, and your satisfaction.

Moldy, Musty Smell

This is one of the most common HVAC odors that people describe to technicians. If you’re smelling a moldy, musty smell coming from your air ducts, this means that mold or mildew is exactly what is causing the smell. These indoor air polluters can build up in your air ducts if condensation doesn’t drain properly while your AC is running. Getting your air ducts professionally cleaned gets rid of that buildup and the odor it creates and also improves your indoor air quality.

Burning Gas Smell

If a burning gas smell comes from your air ducts only when you first turn on your heater, then there usually isn’t cause for concern. This initial smell is caused by dust getting burned off the heat exchanger, and it should usually go away after a few minutes.

If you detect a burning gas smell, and it is NOT coming through your air vent registers, there may be a leak within your HVAC equipment or at the joint of a pipe. If this is the case, contact an HVAC technician so that they can detect the leak and make an effective long-term repair.

“Rotten Egg” Gas Smell

If you smell an odor similar to rotten eggs, then that means you are smelling natural gas that has leaked from somewhere in or near your home. This is a very serious and potentially hazardous situation. Open your home’s windows for ventilation and leave immediately.

Once you are a safe distance from your home, contact your gas company so that they can shut off your gas and repair the leak. If the gas leak is coming from your HVAC equipment, you will need a technician to repair or replace the faulty part.

Oily Smell

There are two possible sources of an oily smell. The first and easiest to detect is an oil leak in your HVAC equipment. If you cannot find any leaking oil, it’s very likely that there’s a problem with your system’s oil burner, a malfunction that can be caused by any number of issues. In either case, the best thing to do is to contact a qualified technician to repair your AC equipment.

Overheating, Electrical Smell

If it smells like your system is overheating, shut off your unit immediately, and then check your air filter to see if it’s clogged. Very often, an air filter that’s clogged with dirt and debris causes units to overheat due to lack of sufficient air flow. If the air filter is not the problem, your unit’s wiring is likely to be the issue. Do NOT attempt to solve electrical issues on your own. A qualified HVAC technician will be able to safely diagnose the exact cause and repair the issue.

Monarch Home Service’s HVAC technicians are available 24/7 to assist you. Get in touch with us online or by phone at (661) 452-8707 to request a quote or to schedule an in-person consultation.

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