Something’s Fishy! What You Need to Know About Funky Smells Coming from Your HVAC Unit

Are you noticing strange smells coming through the air vents in your home? Perhaps a fish-like smell? You may be concerned there is a dead animal laying somewhere in your air vents or a bad case of mold, but this may not be the reason at all. While that sounds gross, the real problem you could be facing may not even be in the HVAC unit; it could be much more dangerous than that.

When it comes to foul odors traveling through the air vents, it is very likely that there is plastic overheating somewhere. In the electrical build-out of your home, there are certain plastics used that give off this fishy smell when they get too hot or start to burn. While it will smell as if it’s coming directly from the air vents, it is more likely just the odor being pulled in through the intake vent and released into the air. The problem is most likely originating in an electrical breaker, wiring, an outlet or a switch.

How to find the source:

Step 1: Turn off the AC system

Step 2: Walk through the house and see if you can determine where the smell remains. If the smell is totally gone with the AC off, you may want to call your local technician to come and check out your HVAC system.

Step 3: Try unplugging appliances and turning the lights off to better pinpoint from which electrical source the odor may be coming from.

Step 4: When in doubt, call for help! If you are not sure where the smell is coming from, you are best off calling in an electrician or HVAC technician. Electrical problems pose a major threat to your safety and it’s not worth waiting to see if the smell goes away on its own.

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