Stench In Your Vents? 3 Common HVAC Odors And How To Deal

The past few weeks, you have cleaned and deodorized your house from top to bottom. Now, you are starting to think that the foul odor you smell might be something far more sinister than your teenager's gym socks that you found under the couch. At some point, almost every HVAC unit puts off an odor, and being able to recognize these three stenches will help you figure out the best way to restore your home's usual lovely ambiance.


Air conditioning units play a valuable role in dehumidifying the air in your home as part of the cooling process. However, all of that moisture can build up. Once it does, you may have water collecting somewhere in your unit that is allowing mold and mildew to grow. For example, your drip pan may not be draining properly and the pool of water has created the perfect place for mold to grow. Since your family's health can be affected by mold flowing through the vents, you will need to call for HVAC repair if changing your air filter doesn't stop the odor.

Burning Oil

New furnaces sometimes create a burning odor during the first twenty minutes or so after being started up for the first time. You might also notice a slight burning smell when you turn your furnace on at the beginning of each season. This is usually just due to a build-up of dust and oils that burns off quickly. When you smell a burning oil odor at any other time, it is important to get your unit inspected. While you might just have a mild oil leak, this scent could also indicate bigger problems such as clogged burner.

Dirty Socks

This odor mystifies homeowners every year since it can quickly spread through the house and cause you to think that you have somehow lapsed on your housekeeping. This common air conditioning problem is usually due to build-up on your unit's evaporator coils. Have your AC repair tech inspect your system for any leaks. Then, make evaporator coil cleaning part of your normal seasonal maintenance routine to prevent the problem from happening again.

Your home air conditioning and heating unit helps prevent your home from being stuffy on a hot day while adding warmth to the frigid winter months. When foul air starts blowing through your vents, it can quickly make everyone miserable. Fortunately, repairing the culprit quickly resolves the odor so that you can have company over again without worrying about seeming like a terrible housekeeper. For more tips, contact a company like Total Comfort Heating & Air Condition.