Why Does My AC Smell Like A Wet Dog?

Your home HVAC unit should smell like… like home. It really should have no smell at all. The purpose of the AC is to filter, circulate, and cool the air for you. So, if it smells less than clean, there are several ways you can fix it. So, does your AC smell like a wet dog?

If so, you should hear what WebMD says about the link to allergies and indoor air quality. Here is what we found on their site:

Bad air can trigger coughing, chest tightness, sore throat, watery or itchy eyes, shortness of breath, and even a full-blown asthma attack. ‘If you live in a home with chronically poor air quality, you can experience frequent headaches, long-lasting colds, and bronchitis as well as chronic asthma,’ says E. Neil Schachter, MD, the medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.”

That said, let’s go over the reasons for the smell and what you can do about it.

Reasons for a Smelly AC System

Does your home AC smell funny? Well, actually, it is not so funny at all, is it? A home that smells foul is an embarrassment and nuisance. Here are a few of the reasons your home AC may smell bad. Some may be obvious, and some may be new to you. Once you have considered the following reasons, keep reading to learn how to take an active part in getting fresh air back into your home.

Do You Have Dirty Air Filters?

Are your air filters past due for a change? We all get busy, but in order to keep your home smelling fresh and clean, new air filters are critical. The smell coming from an old air filter would be mold, mildew, and a musty scent. If your AC smells dirty, change the filter and see if it helps. Then, be sure to check the recommended date for change and add it to your monthly calendar so you won’t forget again.

The Smell of Gun Powder Lingers in the Air?

Well, unless you are in the middle of a Western Movie, that is never a good smell. The gun powder smell could be a short circuit or a broken fan motor. Either way, a trained technician can let you know which it is and how to get it fixed.

Smelling Burnt Rubber?

The smell of burnt rubber could indicate a problem with the fan or motor. Avoid the risk of fire by shutting off the system immediately if you smell that familiar scent.

Could There be a Dead Rodent in the Ductwork?

Ah, yes. It happens, and it is very unpleasant. And if you have ever smelled a dead animal that has been sitting for a day or two, there is no mistaking that odor. Besides, while it may only smell like a wet dog today, tomorrow it may be that unmistakable scent of death. So, if that rotten egg smell is present, it is a telltale sign of rodent activity. Get rid of it immediately! Call a qualified local HVAC team to inspect your ductwork and get rid of the odor along with the rodent.

Exhaust Fumes in the Air

AC’s are powered by electricity. However, the motors contain fluids that assist with performance. When there is a leak in these lines, you may think you are sensing exhaust fumes. That is a repair that needs immediate action.

Sewage Back-Up

It happens, sewage lines will occasionally back up. And if your duct is near the issue, you may quickly smell that awful methane gas odor. Make no mistake; methane gas is hazardous. Call for help from your local HVAC specialist immediately.

Might the Cause be Your Pets, not the AC?

This is a sensitive subject, but you should always listen to those who come into the home infrequently if they say your home smells funny. You see, living in the house, you can go “nose blind” to the home’s various odors. And if you have an older pet or perhaps a pet that is very active and hates baths, you may just have a stinky pet syndrome.

Smell Like a Wet Dog? Perhaps It is Dirty Sock Syndrome.

Have you ever heard of Dirty Sock Syndrome? Well, it has nothing to do with dirty socks whatsoever. But, those who work in HVAC hear those words all of the time. It is the odor created by a build-up of mold, fungus, and bacteria in the AC. You see, when moisture is trapped inside your unit, it makes the perfect place for spore growth. Enrolling in a service plan with your local HVAC professionals will help keep the dirty sock out of your AC.

dirty sock syndrome

Want Your AC to Smell Like a Wet Dog No More?

No one wants a stinky home. That is a given. But knowing what to do about it is our job. At TRUST Heating and Air, we know just how to keep your AC system smelling fresh and clean. And, between maintenance plan cleanings, here are a few things you can do to help minimize the Wet Dog smell in your home.

  1. First, always check the air filters and change them out according to the recommended instructions printed on the filter itself. The standard times are either once a month or once every three months. AC filters are easy to locate in hardware stores and even online, delivered to your door. So if you want a fresh-smelling home, try changing the filters.
  2. Have the drainage pan checked. If standing water is an issue, it could easily be the source of the wet dog smell. Use a wet vac or call your local HVAC professional to get it all clean and fresh properly.
  3. Evaporator coils hold moisture and breed bacteria and mold. No one wants that. When your coils need a cleaning, it is best to call for an expert. But if you’re going to do some preliminary cleaning, you can. Take a simple detergent and water mixture and spray it on. Then wait a few minutes to allow time for the dirt and grime to loosen up, then simply wipe it away and rinse.
  4. Leaks are the prime place for mold, mildew, and bacteria growth. Make sure there are no water leaks on your connections.
  5. The ductwork also holds dust, pet hair, debris, mold, mildew, and bacteria. For good indoor air, be sure to schedule a thorough cleaning of your ductwork as needed.
  6. Contact your local HVAC company to enroll in their Preventative Maintenance Plan.

wet dog

Preventative Maintenance Takes the Wet Dog Smell Away

Every machine you own needs care. Your car needs oil changes and tune-ups. Appliances need thorough cleaning and some repair. The pool requires maintenance and constant upkeep. Why should it be any different with your AC system?

A Preventative Maintenance Plan provides the following for your HVAC unit.

  • Catch issues before they arise.
  • Optimize the efficiency of your equipment.
  • Optimize performance.
  • Achieve clean indoor air quality.
  • Ductwork inspection and clean-out.

And there is so much more these plans can do for your home and the health of your family. A good maintenance plan should have your technician coming out in Spring and Fall to prepare your system for the change in weather. Here are the steps the technician will take to help your system live its fullest life.

  • Check all air filters and replace them.
  • Test the thermostat to ensure it is cycling.
  • Check refrigerant levels and look for leaks.
  • Clean the condenser coils.
  • Tighten all electrical connections.
  • Check the gas connections.
  • Lubricate the moving parts.

Make recommendations where replacement or repair are needed.

Therefore, every home should enroll in a preventative maintenance HVAC plan to keep the AC running as well as it can and extend the life of that system.

Don’t Put Up with an AC Unit That Smells

If your AC smells like a wet dog, or worse, you will want to have it fixed immediately. So don’t delay. Call the HVAC specialists near you and get on their list of preferred clients. And if you live in Gwinnett or Walton County, Northeast Georgia, you know just who to call.

TRUST Heating and Air services all equipment brands, installs replacement equipment and offers a full range of home comfort service programs and products. We focus our efforts and expertise on reducing our customers’ heating and cooling expenses and extending the useful life of the equipment. Our company cares about our customers and their air quality. So, please don’t suffer in silence. If your home smells like a wet dog, call for an HVAC clean-out today.

TRUST Heating and Air Will Clean Your HVAC System and Get the Smell Away.