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Why is my HVAC… Your Most Asked Questions, Answered. Week 2

Greenville SC – We know you have questions, and we want to answer them. General Air of Greenville S.C., is back answering your most searched questions, week 2! Last week we answered your pressing questions, helping you understand and solve why your HVAC system was leaking, and why your HVAC system was so loud. This week our HVAC help is focusing on why your HVAC might smell, and how to solve it. As always though, these are not complete answers, and if you are still concerned about any problems you might be having with your HVAC or just need additional HVAC help, please contact General Air in Greenville South Carolina. 

Why Does My HVAC Smell? 

There is not much that is worse than a smelly HVAC system, as that smell can permeate throughout your house and make every room smell off. Luckily, all smells have a source, and most are easily fixed. The first step to solving the problem though, is understanding what type of smell is filling your home, and where that smell might be originating. Does the HVAC system smell like electricity, rotten eggs or oil, mold or mildew, or gas? Each type of smell has very different causes, and very different solutions. 

HVAC Help: My HVAC smells like Electricity- 

Electricity is a generally unnerving smell, meaning something is overworking or overheating, or that there are exposed wires near you. Unfortunately, these are also the things that can cause your HVAC to smell like electricity. If it smells like your HVAC is overworking itself, the heating unit probably is. An HVAC system that is undersized will become overworked, and begin to smell like electricity. The moment you begin to smell electricity is when you should get some HVAC help before the unit damages itself, or your property. Finding a properly sized unit is critical to the life of the HVAC system, and to the reduction of your utility bills. The electricity smell is mostly likely caused by an overworked or damaged HVAC unit, and should be assessed soon before your electricity bill spikes. 

HVAC Help: I smell rotten eggs, or I smell oil- 

Rotten eggs, or sulfur, and the smell of oil might seem like an unlikely grouping of smells, but they both originate from the same issue – A leak. First, if you smell rotten eggs you should take the situation very seriously. HVAC help is available, but the smell of rotten eggs is either literally rotten eggs, or a natural gas leak. Although natural gas has no actual odor, sulfur is added to make it easily detectable. If this smell is in your house, there is likely a natural gas leak. You should immediately open your windows and leave the house, and contact your local gas and energy company to find and repair the leak. Natural gas can be very dangerous and should not be taken lightly. 

Similarly, the smell of oil can be caused by a leak, although this one is not as serious. A small leak on the heating unit can cause some oil to leak, which can cause minor damage and a smell. If there is no visible leak, there could also be damage to the oil burner. Make sure to contact professional HVAC help for all of these issues, as even a small oil leak does require a trained professional to fix. 

HVAC Help: Why Does My HVAC Smell Like Mold/Mildew? 

Although we’ve gone over this question in the past, the answer bears repeating – if you smell mold or mildew, there probably is mold or mildew. The cause is most likely a leaky drain pipe, or a system that is condensing too much water. These problems cause water to build up within the HVAC system, which is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Luckily, HVAC help for this is not too intensive, just a simple regularly cleaning schedule can help solve these problems, and a regular maintenance check for loose pipes is a good idea too. If the problem isn’t a leaky pipe, things get a little more complicated. A system that is too big for its area to heat, will condense too much water into the system. This will in turn pump water throughout the vents, causing it to build up in unreachable places like bends or other air corridors. The main solution to this would be to install a dehumidifier, and keep the unit from running at full blast. A thorough cleaning is also needed, as the mold and mildew can cause serious respiratory problems.  

HVAC Help: Why Does My HVAC Smell Like Gas? 

The smell of gas is an easily identifiable one, but unfortunately the cause can be a little harder to identify. Gas smells can have several origins, from benign to serious, and should be approached thoroughly. HVAC help might not be required for certain issues though. A newer HVAC system or one that hasn’t been activated in a while might smell of gas from dust settled within the heat exchanger. When the burner is finally activated, it burns off the dust, causing a gas smell throughout the vents. If the smell isn’t coming from the vents, it is a problem that requires professional HVAC help. It is most likely a leak at a pipe fitting or an issue within the equipment. Call General Air of Greenville SC to schedule a repair, and do not attempt to fix it on your own. 

This week we answered your question, “why does my HVAC smell?” We covered why your air conditioner might smell like gasoline, or oil, and how to solve a leak. We covered how you should react to a natural gas leak, and the proper response to the smell of electricity. Overall, if there is a leak, call professional HVAC help. If the smell could be caused by gas being burned off, no need to worry. And mold and mildew can be serious problems if not taken care of. No matter what though, if you are worried about a smell in your home you believe your HVAC system is making, call General Air of Greenville South Carolina to do a checkup. Contact us today. 

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