5 Toxic HVAC Smells That Indicate Horrible Underlying Problems

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Even a little defect or dysfunction in the unit has direct effects on each of them. No wonder the smell within your premises – that enters through the ventilation system – is one of the very first and given indicators of an underlying problem.

Let’s see these five toxic smells that points to a much serious issue and what to do next –

Burning or Gunpowder like smell

Electrical or wire-burning like odors usually arise from malfunctioning in the AC fan, compressor, pumps, chipsets, and other wires or electrical components. More often than not, it’s a physical problem that lies much deeper into the system and needs professional intervention for the complete solution.

If left unattended, these are likely to grow and cause disruption to other crucial components of your HVAC system, which will add to the cost latter on. Though, that isn’t the biggest problem. The smell itself can cause many irritations and repository system related problems.

Exhaust fumes or traffic like odor

Your system may or may not be powered by gas. It still contains many toxic and non-toxic gases that help it to run smoothly. If your furnace or utility pipes happen to have a leakage, it may leak into both your ventilation and filter system, giving a motor exhaust or traffic like stink. It won’t be too hard but indicative enough to confirm a problem.

You should not ignore this smell. For it can indicate much greater and horrific underlying problems. The heating system of your HVAC Unit contains toxic gases like carbon monoxide. So don’t wait for another minute and call in a professional as soon as you smell anything like that.

Rotten eggs or sulfur

Unless you have a rotting egg within your house – this smell arises due to an added chemical within carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. These are mostly odorless and this component is added for detection of leakage only.

It should go without saying – you should never ignore this one – even if it’s the mildest. The odorless gas that accompanies the smell is both hazardous for your health and HVAC system – and can cause havoc to your budget.

Better call in a professional.

Chemical aroma

If the atmosphere smells like new paint or varnish or anything that reminds of a chemist shop or chemical factory, it’s one of the components in your HVAC system that has made it to where it shouldn’t be. The good news is that – it’s not much of a costly problem. Your HVAC expert will be able to diagnose and solve it much sooner than others. The associated health is comparably low as well. So that’s a relief.

Though, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. It can grow into something gruesome if left unattended. You never know.

Musty, dew-like, or moldy smell

Again, not a serious problem. It’s more of a drainage and cleaning problem.

When your HVAC system runs, it causes the moisture to condense all around the pipes, ducts, plaster, etc. It can sit there for extended periods of time, and if given suitable conditions, can develop into a mold or damp.

This is not much of a serious problem. But if left untreated for a long period of time, the musty air can cause infections and irritation within your repository system.

So once again – better safe than sorry.

Let’s see some usual HVAC problems that become probable in colder months –

Clogged filters

Your HVAC system has been running the whole summer. No wonder the filters are full of dust and dirt by now. Make sure you check these filters every month and get them changed in every other month. Ideally, you should always buy a couple more filters in advance and keep them around.

Frozen pipes

Lower temperatures can cause freezing of accumulation and ice within the pipes, coils, and ventilation units. Blocking the air or water flow, and hence, the proper functioning of the whole system. Sometimes, if left untreated and unintended, pipes can even burst from freezing and skyrocket the cost in manifolds.

Malfunctioning heat pump

Heat pumps have to deal with their own set of problems that come during winter. Especially if you have an outside one. Other than the lower efficiency at cold temperatures, many pumps fail to defrost at a given time. Make sure your heat pump has inbuilt and automatic and working defrost settings. If not, call in a professional or do manual defrost from time to time.

Broken thermostat

A broken thermostat will not only cause havoc to your electricity bill – but also cause unfavorable atmosphere and conditions within the premises. More often than not – these thermostats have electrical and digital problems rather than mechanical problems.

Try to change and reprogram your device first. You can consult the owner’s manual or look up the exact steps for your given model online. However, if you run into any problems or if it still doesn’t work, give us a shout if it doesn’t work. Our HVAC experts will be happy to help you out.

Carbon monoxide leaks

It’s less about the functioning of your HVAC System and more about the safety of your home and those who live within it. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is used in the HVAC heating systems and is extremely hard to detect manually. It’s odorless, colorless, tasteless, and invisible. There is almost no way to detect it in the case of a leak.

Inspect the furnace and heat exchanger for any wear or tear or malfunctioning defect. And make sure it’s 100% use to continue with its current state. In case of any doubts, call in a professional as soon as possible.

In the end, do remember the fact that these are only a few common problems that are likely to surface in the months of winter. It’s better to conduct a professional inspection to make sure everything is working fine and up to the mark. You can end up spending a lot less on the maintenance and repair costs.

Enjoy Winter!

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