Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Burnt

A burning smell coming from your air conditioning unit can be alarming. But, there is no reason to panic since most of the time, you can solve the problem.

Fortunately, a burning smell from your unit does not mean that your AC is burning. It can simply be a warning sign that you need to inspect and service your air conditioning unit.

Also, apart from a burning smell, your AC might smell dirty or produce the smell of burning chemicals. If such a smell lingers for too long, make sure that you switch your unit off and call a technician to have the problem checked out. It’s advisable not to try to repair your AC on your own because the problem might get worse or might pose a safety hazard.

So, why does my air conditioner smell? If that’s your question, this guide will help you answer it and more.

Causes of burning smell from the air conditioner

  1. Dusty interior of the AC unit
  2. A dusty air conditioning unit is likely to emit a burning smel

    If you have not been using your AC unit for some time and you turn it on, you might observe a burning smell. This happens when the dust is burning to clear out the air. The burning smell from a dusty AC unit is short-lived and the smell should be gone in a few minutes. If the problem persists, you can clean out the dust from the coils to make sure everything is working fine.3Clogged air filters

Air conditioning filters need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. Unfortunately, many people leave them for too long and they end up being clogged by dirt and debris. If you have not replaced your filters for a while, you may experience a burning smell caused by incomplete combustion.

When the filters are dirty, combustion does not fully take place due to dirt and dust. This leads to a burning smell that lingers for a long time. The solution is to replace the air filters as soon as possible.

Broken capacitor

This is a very common problem that can lead to a burning smell coming from the AC. Capacitors are prone to breaking down due to circuit issues. When the capacitor is faulty, the motor tends to overheat and this leads to a burning smell.

When you call an electrician for a burning smell, they will check the capacitor and replace it immediately with a new one if they determine it’s the problem.

Faulty motor

The motor in your air conditioning unit is prone to damage due to wear and tear. You need to remember that your AC motor is always working. A faulty motor causes overheating of the unit and you are likely to experience a burning smell.

Fortunately, you can replace a faulty motor by calling an AC specialist. This requires advanced electrical work, so do not attempt to replace the motor on your own.

Rubber belt overheating

An overheating rubber belt can also produce a burning smell in your air conditioning unit. Rubber produces a strong smell when burning.

Fortunately, this problem can be solved by replacing rubber belts that tend to wear out over time. For this type of work, you need to call a technician to conduct an inspection and also do the replacement.

Burning electrical components

Sometimes the internal electrical components of your AC start burning due to electrical failure or circuit problems. When this happens, you will notice a foul smell or the smell of plastic. If you notice this type of smell, it likely means that the cables are burning.

The best way to solve this is to first switch off the unit by switching off the source of power. After switching everything off you should call the electrician to diagnose and solve the problem.

Other strange AC odors

Have you ever asked yourself: “Why does my new air conditioner smell?” Whether old or fairly new, here are some of the other common smells that you might notice with your AC:

Gunpowder smell

A gunpowder smell is a common smell from your AC. This smell is noticeable when the fan motor becomes burned. Unfortunately, this smell can cause respiratory issues because it comes when chemical components burn from your air conditioning unit.

You can avoid this smell by making sure that your AC is serviced regularly to keep it in good condition.

Rotten eggs smell

The smell of rotten eggs coming from your air conditioning unit is not uncommon and can have a variety of causes. If you are using a natural gas air conditioning unit, the smell might be coming from a leak. It is advisable to do an inspection immediately to rule out any gas leak.

Another cause of rotten eggs smell is a dead animal. There are some instances when small rodents get into your air conditioning unit and die while inside. After some time you are likely to perceive the smell of rotten eggs coming from the AC unit.

Why does my air conditioner smell?: The right smell for an AC

ACs are not completely odorless. For instance, you might notice some dust smell at some point if you have not used your unit for a long time. However, any lingering smell that affects you is cause for concern and should be checked immediately.

Always contact a professional to check out those strange smells because they are always a warning sign that something is wrong with your unit. Early diagnosis can help you to save on repairs and regular breakdowns.

At Direct AC, our specialists are skilled and equipped to assess your AC, determine the exact cause of any smell, and make the necessary replacements or repairs. Contact us for any HVAC assistance.

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