Top Causes Behind Bad Air Conditioner Smells in Hawaii

June 1st, 2021

As a Hawaiian homeowner, it’s understandable to feel concerned when noticing strange odors coming from your air conditioning system. Depending on the source, these odors could have a serious effect on the health of the people living inside the home. Bad smells can also be a result of mechanical problems with your AC unit.

At Island Comfort, we receive calls all the time from people complaining about unpleasant air conditioner smells. Foul air conditioner odors can have many causes. Therefore, here are some of the most common smells that emerge from an AC duct and why they happen.

woman cleaning unit to get rid of air conditioner smells

It’s Like Living in a Nail Salon

If the unpleasant smell is a chemical odor similar to acetone or nail polish remover, your AC unit may be experiencing a coolant leak. An AC refrigerant leak can be a serious problem. Not only can it affect the efficiency of your air conditioner unit, but it can also be hazardous to your health. Fortunately, it’s a problem that an experienced HVAC technician can easily fix.

Every Room’s a Locker Room

Is your air conditioner starting to make your house smell like dirty socks or a gym locker room? Moldy or mildewy smells are one of the most common bad air conditioner smells. This unpleasant odor is the result of bacteria growing in the stagnant water that often collects within an AC unit.

The Second-Hand Stink of Stale Cigarettes

If someone in your household smokes indoors, or the house’s previous occupants were smokers, the fumes from the smoke are pulled into your AC’s evaporator coil. Furthermore, these smells permeate the coil, causing the smell of stale cigarettes to fill the house. If the smell is really bad, you may need to install a new evaporator.

Dirty Air Filters and Ducts

One common source of foul AC odors is dirty air filters and AC ducts. A foul-smelling AC filter or AC duct could be spreading a lot more than bad smells throughout your house, including dust, mold, pet dander, and other allergens.

Simple maintenance and cleaning, such as changing the air filter along with cleaning and sanitizing the AC ducts, usually eliminate these types of odors. A new filter and clean AC duct can work wonders to improve the air quality within your home.

Unwelcome Guests

Rats, mice, and other pests can cause unpleasant air conditioner smells. If you’ve been experiencing the smell of urine and feces coming from your AC ducts, it could be because you have some uninvited guests using your air ducts as a restroom.  If the cause of your problem is rodents living in your HVAC system, call a pest removal service immediately before having the air ducts cleaned.

Keep the Air Inside Your Home Cool, Fresh, and Clean with Island Comfort

Those awful smells coming from your AC unit could be a bigger problem than you think. If your air conditioner is stinking up the place, give Island Comfort a call. In addition to having a big impact on the air quality inside your home, bad air conditioner smells may indicate more serious issues, such as electrical problems or rodent infestation. 

Contact Hawaii HVAC company Island Comfort for complete air conditioner installation, maintenance, and heating services as well as attic insulation. We have locations on the islands of Oahu and Kauai. You can reach our Oahu location (in Waipahu) at (808) 215-9091 and our Kauai (in Lihue) at (808) 215-9087.

Island Comfort’s team of highly experienced, licensed, and certified HVAC technicians provide reliable, affordable air conditioner service to homes and businesses. You can depend on Island Comfort to pinpoint the source of the unpleasant odor and take the necessary steps to eliminate the problem.