According to many published studies, the indoor air quality of many people’s homes is as much as five times worse than what is happening on their own front porch. That’s because, oftentimes, homeowners fail to open up their windows, change their HVAC unit’s air filters, or there is an odor that indicates there’s some other cause of indoor air pollution that’s going on.
If for the past few days, you’ve felt like the rooms in your house have a bit of an odd scent lingering in them and you’re wondering if it has anything to do with your HVAC system, you’re in luck. This article is going to share with you five ways to properly diagnosis five fairly common duct odors. That way, you can get to the root of the problem immediately.
If it smells like an animal: If when you turn on your thermostat, you notice a smell that is reminiscent of a dead animal, the reality is that could actually be the case. As the temperatures outside begin to drop, it’s not uncommon for small pests such as mice or animals like birds to try and get into your unit through your duct system. Unfortunately, once they are inside, it’s basically impossible for them to escape and they end up dying as a direct result. So, if you do notice a dead animal smell, look in your ductwork.
If it smells like gas: Although you won’t be able to smell carbon monoxide (which is why you should have a carbon monoxide detector inside of your home), if your HVAC system is putting out a gas-like smell, it could be due to what is known as heating combustion flue gases. When they are not able to be directed to the vents that go to the outside, the gas smell will linger inside of your home. This tends to happen when there is either a leak inside of your heat exchanger or your duct system has some defects. In either instance, you should contact a professional technician as soon as possible.
If it smells like mold: When you don’t clean your ducts regularly, when your condensate line is clogged, or when your coils need to be cleaned out, this can lead to a moldy smell in your HVAC system. The good news is that these are all things that you can resolve on your own. For tips on how to clean your ducts and coils, go to DIY Network and put “clean HVAC coils” and “clean HVAC ducts” in the search field. Just make sure that you use a cleaning solution that is made up of one-part laundry detergent and one-part water (that will help to totally remove the smell). As far as your condensate line, all you need is a wet/dry vacuum. Attach it to the line and that will pull out whatever is clogging it.
If it smells like pesticides: Whether you notice the smell of pesticides in your ducts or in your air ventilators, it’s usually because someone inadvertently sprayed it onto your ducts or in the direction of your ventilators. Being that some pesticides are hazardous, you should either contact Poison Control or an HVAC company to ask them what you should do to eliminate the smell.
If it smells like an electric motor: And what happens if the scent that you notice smells a lot like an electric motor? Oftentimes what that means is that some part of your system is failing. You definitely shouldn’t try and fix this kind of problem on your own. Instead, contact an HVAC technician immediately. For tips on how to find a reputable one in your area, visit Angie’s List and put “how to find a reputable HVAC technician” in the search field.