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Why Your AC Smells Bad and How to Fix It

Why Your AC Smells Bad and How to Fix It

Why Does My AC Smell Bad and How to Fix It?

When you turn on your air conditioner, the last thing you expect is a nasty smell. But unfortunately, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. An unpleasant odor coming from your air conditioner can be caused by a variety of factors, including improper maintenance and hygiene, old wiring, pest infestations, or even mold and bacteria growth.

Possible Causes of Bad Smell in AC

Mold and Bacteria

The most common source of a bad smell coming from an AC is mold or bacterial growth within the system. Although there’s not much humidity in the environment, moving air through the air conditioning system creates a fertile breeding ground for mold and bacteria. This can cause a strong, musty smell; a sign that you need to schedule a maintenance and cleaning appointment with a professional HVAC technician in order to address the issue.


When the environment inside or outside of a home is suitable for certain pests, they can get into the air conditioner’s system and cause a bad smell. If you smell something especially unpleasant coming from the AC, the chances are that it’s caused by some type of pest infestation. To get rid of the stench, you’ll need to contact an exterminator to treat your home.

Old Wiring

If the wiring inside of your AC is old, it won’t be able to handle the load as efficiently as a new system. This can result in a burning smell that’ll get progressively worse over time. If you smell something burning coming from the AC, the best option is to call a professional HVAC technician to inspect the system and replace the old wiring with a newer, more efficient model.

Dust and Dirt

When dust, dirt, and other debris accumulate around the air conditioning system, it creates an ideal breeding ground for mold and bacteria. This can cause a nasty smell to come from the AC, necessitating a professional air duct cleaning to get rid of the odor.

How to Get Rid of the Bad Smell in Your AC

Regardless of the cause of the bad smell in your AC, the first step to solve any issue is to call a professional HVAC technician. They’ll inspect the system, diagnose the problem, and recommend the best course of action for resolving it.

Once the cause of the bad smell has been identified, the technician will take steps to fix the issue. This could involve replacing the wiring, replacing dirty filters and serviced parts, or cleaning the AC of dust and dirt. Some contractors may even recommend installing a UV lamp to help eliminate mold and bacteria, as well as other air pollutants.

Once the issue is addressed, the AC should be left running 24/7 to help keep the air clean and free of odors. This will help reduce the chances of any future unpleasant smells coming from the AC.


A bad smell coming from your AC can be caused by a variety of factors, including mold, bacteria, old wiring, pests, and dust and dirt accumulation. The best way to identify the source of the bad odor and get rid of it is by calling a professional HVAC technician to inspect the system and take necessary steps to address the issue. By annually servicing your AC system and leaving it running 24/7, you’ll be able to ensure that your air conditioning system stays odor-free for many years. And if you still experience any bad smells coming from the AC, don’t hesitate to contact Local Reliable Appliance Repair at (866) 311-8590. They are always ready to help you and make sure that your AC is functioning properly.

Why Your AC Smells Bad and How to Fix It
Why Your AC Smells Bad and How to Fix It
Why Your AC Smells Bad and How to Fix It

Why Does My AC Smell Bad?

It’s natural to feel concerned when a bad odor starts emanating from the air conditioning (AC) system. Fortunately, there are some steps that can be taken to identify the issue and prevent AC odors from developing in the future.

Manufacturer Recommendations

Manufacturers typically provide detailed instructions for avoiding and addressing odors from AC units. Generally, these instructions involve regular maintenance and careful attention during installation and setup. It is recommended to refer to the manual issued by the manufacturer for advice on sensitive settings and maintenance procedures.

AC Servicing and Cleaning

Regular servicing of AC systems is essential to ensure they remain in good condition. This includes inspecting the unit and components, such as the evaporator coil, fins, fan and filter, and cleaning when necessary. Filters should be replaced regularly, and parts of the unit may need to be disassembled and cleaned. The importance of regular maintenance and cleaning cannot be overstated when trying to avoid AC odors.


In certain cases, adding a dehumidifier near the AC unit may be necessary to address the issue. This can help reduce humidity in the room, which can lead to mold growth and odors. Cleaning and using a dehumidifier to limit moisture in the room can help avoid the risk of unpleasant odors in the future.


Ventilation is also essential for a functioning AC system. Poorly ventilated AC units are more likely to develop odors due to a buildup of moisture and airborne particles. Check that the vents are open, unblocked and clear of debris, and make sure to clean them regularly.

Local Service Providers

In some cases, the best solution may be to call a local and reliable air conditioning, heating, or HVAC technician. A qualified technician can provide expert advice and guidance to identify the source of the odor and ensure the AC unit is functioning correctly.


A bad smell from an AC system is often the result of a combination of issues, such as a build-up of dirt, dust, and moisture, inadequate ventilation, or a failed component. Following manufacturer recommendations and regular maintenance is essential for avoiding bad odors from developing. In more serious cases, it may be necessary to seek the advice and help of a reliable local AC service.

Average Repair Cost for an AC Smelling Bad

If you’re experiencing bad smells from your AC, you should contact a reliable air conditioning repair service. Local Reliable Air Conditioning & Heating can be reached at (866) 311-8590.

The repair cost for an AC smelling bad can vary widely depending on the root cause. The cost may be as low as $85 for basic maintenance; however, complex repairs or installations in California could cost hundreds of dollars. Prices may be higher due to an estimated 20% increase in repair costs.

Some of the necessary parts for AC repair may include:

  • Hoses
  • Capacitors
  • Coils
  • Refrigerant
  • Fans
  • Thermostats
  • Blower motor
  • Oil/Lubricants

The cost of materials will vary, depending on what needs replacing. If a tech is needed to diagnose and repair the issue, then charges may apply.

In conclusion, it’s important to call an experienced air conditioning repair service like Local Reliable Air Conditioning & Heating at (866) 311-8590 if your AC is emitting bad smells. The average repair cost for an AC smelling bad can range from basic maintenance to hundreds of dollars for complex jobs. Contact a reliable AC service for an accurate assessment of your system and associated repair costs.

Why Does My AC Smell Bad?

Do you ever experience that stale, musty smell coming from your air conditioner that just doesn’t seem to go away? Unfortunately, it is generally a sign that something isn’t quite right with your AC unit. To help you in determining the source of this unpleasant odor coming from your cooling system and to help alleviate the issue, here is some information from California’s reliable air conditioning experts – Reliable Air Conditioning & Heating.

Reliable is a family-owned air conditioner repair and installation company in California. Our team has a minimum of five years of experience on the field and are highly trained to handle all kinds of AC problems, including issues with bad odors. We offer same-day service, fair and affordable pricing, as well as a 90-day warranty on all repairs.

Though your AC issues could be the result of multiple causes, such as mold, mildew, bacteria, or dust buildup, there are a few things you can do to minimize the offensive odor. Some basic steps to take would be to ensure you have enough air flow and circulation throughout your home, regularly clean or replace filters, and use a good quality air filter.

When it comes to air conditioning maintenance and repair, you don’t have to try to go it alone. Let the professionals at Reliable Air Conditioning & Heating help you out. Whether you have a bad smell or something more serious going on with your unit, our team will work to get your air conditioner running smoothly again. We pride ourselves on our exceptional customer service, quality work and same-day service.

Whether it’s the musty smell or something more serious that needs to be checked out, don’t take any chances – contact the experts at Reliable Air Conditioning & Heating. Our experienced technicians will go above and beyond to make sure you have a pleasant and comfortable home. Your satisfaction is our top priority, so we guarantee that your unit will be up and running the same day. Give us a call and let Reliable Air Conditioning & Heating help you find a reliable solution for your AC problems.

FAQ – Why Your AC Smells Bad and How to Fix It

Why Does My AC Smell Bad?

A bad smell coming from your AC probably indicates an issue with the system. A few common causes are:
– Mold or mildew growth in drainage areas.
– Heat source or air filter is clogged.
– Water inside or around the unit.

What is the Cause of a Moldy or Musty Smell?

Mold and mildew thrive in areas with high humidity, like air conditioning systems. To prevent this, make sure you keep your air filter clean, check the drain pan and tube regularly, and replace the filter when necessary.

How Can I Fix the Odor Emitted by My AC Unit?

To fix the odor, check the air filter and clean or replace it if necessary. Vacuum and clean the drain pan, and clean the area around the condenser and evaporator coils. If the smell continues, call a licensed HVAC technician to assess and repair the unit.

Should I Call a Professional AC Technician For Odor Issues?

Yes, it is recommended that you contact a professional technician to diagnose and fix any odor issues. A professional can identify the source of the smell and provide repairs or maintenance to eliminate it. Local Reliable Appliance Repair technicians take pride in providing quality service for all your air conditioner needs. Contact us at (866) 311-8590 for assistance.

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