Most of the time, your heating and air conditioning units operate quietly in the background. They’re supposed to be practically invisible so that you forget that they’re there. All you know is that the house is the right temperature. And then there’s that one day where your HVAC is no longer invisible. In fact, it’s highly noticeable — er, smellable — and you’re left wondering just what is wrong and whether you need to call a professional. In this blog post from our HVAC company in Kankakee, we’ve rounded up some of the odors you might smell from your HVAC system and what problem it might indicate.

HVAC Smells like Burning Rubber or Plastic

If you smell a burning smell and you’ve just turned on your heat for the first time this winter, it’s probably harmless. It’s likely the smell of dust burning, and it’ll go away after the first few times your furnace runs. However, if the burning smell is coming from your air conditioner, or if it is coming from your furnace and doesn’t go away, you should get a professional to take a look at it.

HVAC Smells Like Rotten Eggs or Something Dead

It’s possible that a small bird or rodent could have crawled into your ductwork and died. When the system runs, it circulates that odor throughout your whole house. Cleaning your ductwork is something that our HVAC professionals can do for you, so if you suspect that this is the case in your home, please contact us to schedule an appointment.

HVAC Smells Like Vinegar or Bleach

Is the smell stronger when you get nearer to the HVAC unit, and does turning it off for a day or so stop the smell? If so, it may be ozone, a sharp smell some electric motors put out. Is the smell more like a pungent chemical? It could be a leak of the fluids in your HVAC system, and this deserves your prompt attention, as breathing in these odors could be harmful to your health as well as putting your HVAC system at risk of costly repairs.

HVAC Smells Like Mold, Mildew, or Fungus

If your HVAC system has a musty smell like stinky feet, there may be mold growing on the interior of your duct system or on your condenser coils. If mold spores are getting into your home through your HVAC unit, it could negatively affect your lungs with damage that is hard to reverse. In addition, the fact that there is mold in the first place probably indicates that there is a leak somewhere that is allowing moisture to build up in the system. Start by changing your filter and see if this helps. If not, it’s worth getting checked out by a professional.

There are even more smells that your HVAC unit could produce, so please stay tuned to our blog to read part two.

If you’re in the Kankakee area and you’re experiencing any of these odors in your HVAC system, please contact Home Furnace, Plumbing & Heating for expert service of your HVAC unit.