Air Conditioning Heating and Ventilation Services

Top Causes of Unpleasant Smells from Your HVAC System (and How to Fix Them)

dealing with smelly AC system odors
Of course, we can’t skip over how to fix the issue… Some things you may be able to DIY, and others you’ll need to call our local experts. But either way, the smell will be gone – replaced by plenty of peace of mind.  


Is your HVAC system emitting unpleasant odors? Ignoring these smells can not only make your living environment uncomfortable but also signify underlying issues that could escalate if left unaddressed. Your home’s air quality and safety are paramount.  

At ACHV Services, we specialize in diagnosing and resolving the root causes of HVAC odors. From faulty wiring and natural gas leaks to infestations and clogged drain lines, our expert technicians are equipped to handle it all. Don’t allow these issues to compromise your home’s comfort and safety.  

Take action now! If your AC system isn’t passing the smell test, contact ACHV Services for a comprehensive HVAC inspection and ensure your unit is running its best. Schedule an appointment today and breathe easy knowing your home is in the best hands. 


Common Reasons for Bad Smells in HVAC Systems 

Around here in Tampa Bay, one common source of bad smells in HVAC systems is mold and mildew growth. When moisture accumulates in the system, it creates an ideal environment for mold and mildew to thrive. This can result in a musty or earthy odor permeating through the vents. 

Another frequent cause of unpleasant smells is a clogged or dirty air filter. When the air filter is not replaced regularly, it can become saturated with dust, debris, and other contaminants. This can lead to a stale or dusty odor circulating through the home! 


Other common causes of smelly AC units include:  

  • Burning smells can come from electrical issues like wiring issues or overheating components 
  • Sewage-like odors can happen if there is a plumbing issue like a backed-up sewer line that can let these gases enter ductwork 
  • Dirty feet or socks smell from bacterial growth and mold on the evaporator coil 
  • Oil smells due to poor oil circulation within the system 
  • Vinegar-like smells from excessive ozone production by electronic components 
  • Chemical odors from external sources or improper storage near vents 
  • Foul odors from dead animals and pests  
  • Rotten egg smells are often from gas leaks (While HVAC systems themselves do not typically produce this odor, a gas leak near the system can cause the smell to be sent throughout the home. This is a serious issue that requires immediate attention from a professional.) 

Related > What’s that sound coming from my AC unit?! 


Effective Solutions for Eliminating HVAC Odors 

One effective way to eliminate HVAC odors is to regularly replace or clean the air filters. (You can do that!) Remember: Dirty filters can accumulate dust, mold, and other contaminants that contribute to unpleasant smells. Depending on the type of filter and usage, it is recommended to replace or clean them every 1-3 months. 

Now for actions that it’s better to have a pro handle: 

Clean the Evaporator & Condenser Coils 

These coils can collect dirt, mold, and other debris over time, which can lead to musty or moldy odors. While you can use a coil cleaner – hiring a professional to clean these components can help eliminate these smells & maintain other elements of your system.  

Ensuring Proper Drainage 

We have to drain water effectively from the condensate pan. A clogged or dirty condensate drain can lead to water buildup, which can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Regularly inspecting and cleaning the condensate pan and drain line can prevent these issues. If you see water, call/text us and we’ll be right there to check it out.  

Installing a UV Light Air Purifier 

Air purifiers (like our favorite Reme Halo) can be an effective way to eliminate odors caused by mold and bacteria. These devices are installed within the HVAC system and use ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms, thereby reducing the source of the smell. 

Gas Leaks 

Addressing any potential gas leaks is essential for both safety and odor elimination!  If you smell a sulfur or rotten egg odor, it could indicate a natural gas leak. In such cases, it is critical to contact your gas company or a professional HVAC technician immediately to inspect and repair the leak. 


Say Goodbye to Gross HVAC Smells 

If you are smelling strange things and you tried changing your air filter, it’s time to give our team a call. Most often we can be there the same or next day and most repairs can be done in one visit. 


Call/Text today for fast, affordable service anywhere in Tampa Bay:  

(727) 453-2432 

(813) 917-2982


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