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Bad Smells Can be Sign of A/C Problems

 In Air Quality

Our heating and air conditioning systems do a lot for air quality in our homes. The filtration systems, when properly maintained, can remove dust, allergens and more from the air. But it’s still not unusual to get a bad smell coming from heating and air conditioning units over time. Here are some common smells and what they usually mean.

Burning Smell When You Turn on the Heater

When the first cool snap of fall descended recently on Tallahassee, you may have kicked on your central heat for the first time and got a whiff of something burning. It’s often described as a burnt toast smell. Really, it’s the dust that has collected over the summer months burning off the components in your heater. It’s normal and not a cause for concern unless it doesn’t disappear within a few hours. Then it’s time to check your filters and perhaps call for professional service.

An Electrical Burning Smell

Here’s a smell that’s more of a cause for alarm. It could be that something has gotten into your ductwork and overheated, but it could be something more serious. Remember that your heating and air unit recirculates the air already in your home. So the first step is to check and see if something is smoldering in another room. If it’s not, then it could be one of the vital electrical components in your inside or outside units. Turn the system off and immediately call for professional service. Leaving it running could lead to more problems and a bigger repair bill.

A Stale or Musty Odor

Unfortunately, ductwork can be a haven for mold and mildew, especially when condensation builds up in the ducts over time. Go from room to room and see if the smell is more noticeable in any of them. Then, if you can access your attic, check the ductwork and look for patches of mold and mildew. Give them a wipe with a disinfecting cloth. However, if you see a lot of mold or mildew, or the wipe treatment stops working, you need to call a professional. Mold and mildew can cause a host of respiratory problems and should be treated as soon as possible.

Rotting Trash

From time to time, some of the critters that live around our homes, such as squirrels or mice, can invade. If one of them gets into the ductwork or somewhere else in the house and can’t get out, they may die in there and begin to decay, leading to that horrific smell. You should call for service as soon as you can.

Natural Gas or Rotten Egg Smell

By itself, natural gas is odorless. But most utility providers add a smell to help alert you to the presence of a leak. Sometimes it’s a rotten egg or sulfur smell. If you smell this, especially strongly, act fast. Open all the windows in your home, get out of the house and call the gas company to help find and repair the leak.

Barineau Heating and Air Conditioning can help with these and any other strange smells coming from your heating and air conditioning unit. From filter changes to ductwork cleaning and even total comfort system replacements, we’ve got it covered. Make an appointment online or call 850-580-4029.

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