There are many ways to tell when a heating and cooling system is having problems, and one of that is through smell. Odors caused by an HVAC system in your home can be an indication of several types of problems, so never neglect even a hint of something smelling funny. The range of issues that result in foul smells can range from simple ones such as dirty air filters to severe problems like overheating in the system.

Dirty Sock Syndrome

Sometimes an HVAC system may give out very foul smells usually compared to the stink of dirty socks, which is not a pleasant comparison by any means. The cause of this smell is the growth of bacteria inside a heating and cooling system because of the ideal surroundings it provides. The bad smell becomes apparent when the appliance turns on.

Apart from the odor, the dirty sock syndrome is not good for your health due to the bacteria that make their way into the air when the AC is on.

Gas Smells

The smell of gas is quite strong; and therefore, hard to miss. The worst-case scenario is that the principal gas supply has a leak in which case you need to open windows and leave the house. Gas leaks can be a result of corroded or cracked pipes due to old age or freezing.

Another possible cause of a gas odor from an HVAC system is the accumulation of dust on a heat exchanger that leaves a gas-like smell when the heat is on. If you can smell gas but don’t know where it is coming from, get a heating experts promptly for an inspection.

Electrical Odours

An HVAC system may give out electrical smells if some internal components such as the blower motor overheat. It could also be insulation or motor wires melting due to excess heat that causes the smell. In such a case, you would need a heating professional to provide replacements for damaged parts.


Mold and mildew can grow in poorly maintained ducts or inside an HVAC unit leaving foul smells in the air. This problem is mostly a result of moisture in the air, which may indicate a leak in the system.

Should you encounter any of these problems, don’t hesitate to seek help from a heating expert in Edmonton and Spruce Grove, like those from Capital Plumbing & Heating.