6 Toxic HVAC Smells and Their Impact On Health

6 Toxic HVAC Smells and Their Impact On HealthWhat’s that terrible smell? Oh no! It’s my HVAC system. When your AC system stinks, it’s never a good sign. Smells permeating your home from your air conditioner are usually a sign of a serious underlying problem. And some of them are toxic. Is an air conditioner replacement in order? How worried should you be? Let’s take a closer look at 6 toxic HVAC smells and their impact on your health.

1. Burning Smell

A burning, electrical odor or gunpowder-like smell could indicate electrical issues, fried circuit board, compressor, or fan motor problem. Prolonged exposure to these fumes is not healthy. And letting your system continue to run after you notice it could lead to some costly repairs. If you notice an electrical odor, turn off your unit and schedule emergency AC repair right away.

2. Vehicle Exhaust-Like Odor

Your system can emit a vehicle exhaust like odor even if it doesn’t run on gas. Breathing in particulates from burning oil and other fluids from essential system components can be hazardous to your health, reducing your blood oxygen levels and leading to an array of health issues.

3. Skunky Stink or Dead Animal Smell 

A skunk-like smell permeating your home could actually be from a skunk infiltrating your ductwork. Ditto for decaying animals. These situations can aggravate respiratory conditions and cause nausea. Not sure if the smell is skunky? It could be a gas leak, which is more dangerous and even worse for your health. (See below.)

4. Rotten Eggs/Sulfur-Like Stench 

If your HVAC system smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, a natural gas leak is likely the cause. This odor is added to gas to alert people of dangerous leaks. Open the windows of your home and vacate immediately. Never stay in a home with a potential gas leak. Breathing in high levels of gas fumes can reduce blood oxygen levels, leading to loss of consciousness and death. Gas is also highly flammable and explosive. Go to a neighbor’s house and contact the gas company ASAP.

5. Musty or Moldy Smell

If you smell a musty, moldy odor when your system is running, a drainage problem or a mold buildup within ductwork or other system components may be to blame. While this issue is not detrimental to your system, it is for your health, making it essential to improve indoor air quality fast. Breathing in mold and mildew aggravates respiratory conditions and can increase the risk of respiratory infections.

6. Chemical, Paint-Like Odor

There are a number of fluids used within your air conditioning system that can cause chemical odors. If an unknown, paint-like odor is emanating from your system, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Call your local AC company for rapid assessment and repair.

Don’t suffer through the stench. Breathe easier with help from H & H Heating & Air Conditioning. If you’re afraid you might be experiencing any of the toxic AC smells above, contact our experienced heating and air contractors for emergency service today.

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