What’s That Smell? How To Diagnose AC Problems with Your Nose

You might not know this, but you can learn a lot about your air conditioner from the odors it emits. For instance, if you're smelling dirt in the air, you need to change the air filter. Odor detection can also be used to identify other problems with your air conditioner. You just need to know what odors you're trying to detect, and what each odor means. To help you keep on top of air conditioner issues, here are three odors you should keep your nose alerted to.

Burning Wire

If you're smelling something electrical in your home, like the odor of burning wire, you need to call your repair technician as soon as possible. That odor could signify that you have a problem with the wiring in your air conditioner. Turn the air conditioner off, and don't use it again until it can be looked at by a professional repair technician.

Dirty Dish Water

If your home is starting to smell like dirty water each time you turn the air conditioner on, you should head outside for a closer inspection of your main unit. Dirty water odors can be caused by dirty air conditioner coils. If your coils are dirty, you can clean them off easily with your garden hose. Simply attach a nozzle to your hose and spray the inside and outside of your coils. If your coils are extremely dirty, or your home smells particularly musty, fill a garden sprayer with water and add about a cup of vinegar. Spray your coils down with the solution and allow it to soak in for about 10 minutes. Rinse your coils with clear water. The musty odor will disappear and your coils will be clean.


If you're starting to smell mold in the air when the air conditioner is running, you probably have a problem with your condensation drain line. The drain line is responsible for removing condensation caused by your air conditioner. If it's clogged, the water will build up inside and cause mold to grow. That's when you'll start noticing the moldy odor in your home. You can get rid of the odor by cleaning the condensation drain line. Detach the drain tube from your air conditioner and pour a small amount of bleach into the opening of the tube. Use a small pipe cleaner to scrub out the inside of the tube. Replace the tube and run your air conditioner as usual. To keep the odor away, you should clean the condensation tube at the start of each summer.

If your air conditioner is smelling funny, use the information provided above to identify the problem. To keep your air conditioner running smoothly, be sure to have it serviced at least once a year. Contact a professional repair service like Amc Cool Air for more information.