AC System Emitting Foul Smell

What’s That Smell Coming From My AC System in Norton, VA?

May 22, 2022

A foul smell in your Norton, VA, home that gets worse when the air conditioner runs can be a sign of a severe health hazard. The cause could be as simple as dirty air filters or as severe as refrigerant leaks. Is your AC system emitting a foul smell? Read on to learn the possible cause and how you can resolve it.


A burning smell could indicate a wiring issue, electrical component failure or something wrong with the fan or compressor. If the smell goes away after about 30 minutes, it’s most likely that your AC system is burning off the dust that has accumulated. Contact a professional HVAC service technician to inspect the air conditioner and repair it if the burning smell persists.

Car Exhaust

Since air conditioners don’t run on an internal combustion engine, there’s no reason they should smell like running car exhaust. If your AC system smells like car exhaust, it might be a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant leaks are dangerous, so it’s a good idea for a certified AC repair expert to fix them.

Rotten Eggs

The smell of rotten eggs or sulfur originating from the AC system can stem from several things, such as natural gas leaking into your ventilation system. Turn off the gas supply in your home, evacuate and call professionals if you smell sulfur in your home. If gas isn’t an issue, it’s possible that an animal got stuck in your attic or ductwork, only to die and begin decomposing.

Dirty Socks

Clogged condensate drain pans and dirty evaporator coils are common culprits behind the smell of stinky feet or dirty socks. Stagnant water around the unit can also cause this smell. Contact an AC repair expert to clear the line or clean the coil.

Though some simpler fixes, like changing your air filters, can be easy to do on your own, you should leave most AC repairs to the professionals. At Mid Mountain Heating & Cooling, we offer a variety of AC installation and maintenance services in the Norton, VA, area, so call us to take care of the job instead!

Image provided by iStock

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