Smelly Heat & AC Systems

  • By Air Care Wizard
  • Posted June 25, 2013
Smelly heater caused by dust and mold

Does your gas or electric heating system smell the first time it is turned on for the season. A smell may be noticeable when turning on the heat for the first time when the cold weather hits. This can be a result of dust collecting around the burners. The dust can contain mold and other microorganisms that burn when the system is turned on for the first time at the beginning of the season. The "dust” gives off an unpleasant odor that some times is compared to a "stinky feet” smell.

There may be several other possible issues, and they depend on the type of heat or air conditioner system that you have.  Heat pump systems have had an odor issue that became known as "Dirty Sock Syndrome.” The odor is caused by microorganisms growing as a result of the moisture that condenses on the evaporator coils. When the unit is turned on or is cycling air, a "funky” mold type smell can be present throughout the home. This is more common during the summer months when the air conditioner is being used.

One solution is having your gas furnace or heat pump serviced regularly by Air Care Wizard. Also turning on the heater before the cool weather hits and the windows are all shut will allow the smell to dissipate.

This week we found a dead rodent in an air conditioner return that caused a strong odor to permeate throughout the house whenever the fan or system came on. Removing the rodent and sanitizing the entire duct system solved the odor problem.


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