If you’ve noticed a persistent foul stench emanating from your HVAC system, don’t allow it to go unchecked. Some odors are harmless and short-lived, while others severely injure your home’s indoor air quality and may result in bronchial problems among other health issues. Nasty-smelling HVAC air has many causes, making it important to identify the problem(s) and take action as soon as possible.
A smoky odor coming from your HVAC system likely indicates a mechanical or electrical issue. Moving parts, such as the fan or motor, can overheat or catch fire if the HVAC system isn’t maintained on at least an annual basis. If you think something within your HVAC system is burning and coming through the vents, shut it off immediately and observe the unit outside. Schedule an HVAC inspection and repair immediately to avoid further complications.
Mold and Mildew
Should that familiar musty scent waft out of your vents, you have a mold or mildew problem. Mold and mildew thrive in dark, damp conditions, and often form in ductwork and on coils. If the problem is allowed to continue, mold and mildew will easily spread to other parts of your home and cause a variety of health problems. You will also have to vacate your residence while mold remediation specialists rectify the issue. Causes of HVAC system-related mold and mildew include leaky ductwork, blocked drainage tubes, and poor insulation. Have a professional identify the cause and deal with the problem before it infiltrates the rest of your home.
If you or someone else in your home smokes cigarettes, know that the HVAC system will circulate the smoke—everywhere. Stale smoke stenches attach themselves to condenser coils and create a foul-smelling film within ventilation ducts. Special cleaning methods are needed to remove this stench from ductwork. Smoking outside of the home is also necessary to prevent further problems.
Using your furnace for the first time each year often results in an unpleasant smell throughout your home. This is due to dust settling on furnace heating elements during warm weather. The dust burns up once the system is turned back on, which is why inspection and maintenance are strongly recommended before winter’s chill takes over.
Don’t let any of the above odors permeate your home and cause a slew of unpleasant problems. Stay proactive about HVAC maintenance to enjoy odor-free vents and a system that functions at an optimal level for many years.