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Spring Has Sprung! Top Issues That May Cause Bad Odours & How To Fix It

Spring is definitely here! Especially on the Gold Coast. Flowers are starting to bloom and the bees are buzzing. Imagine this; you’re awake on a hot weekend, laying around your house. You pop on the air conditioner while deciding what to watch on Netflix when suddenly your olfactory senses are assaulted by what seems to be a smelly sock.

You’re not sure if it’s your partner letting one rip…or your air conditioner releasing foul odours. Foul odours in the home are not suitable for the health of your family. Nor your poor nose!

If you find your nose curls, it’s time to put your detective cap on and find the source. Does it worsen when you turn on the air conditioner? Don’t ignore the smell; let’s figure out how to fix it.

Manky, Mouldy, Mildewy!

No, that’s not the new Three Stooges movie filmed in a sewer! If there is too much moisture in your air conditioning system or if the pipes are ‘sweating’, there could be mould and mildew passing through the system or growing around the pipes.

Mould and mildew smell, and no one deserves to be smelling that! To stop this, seek out and repair leaks and check drainage points to ensure drops are going outside and into a drain. It is essential to schedule at least an annual air conditioner service which must include a full cleaning of the condensate drain line and evaporator coils. The latter two will banish any smell caused by mould.

One of the leading health threats in first world countries is dust, dirt, hair, dander, pollen, fungus, and bacteria that build up in your air conditioner system and ducts. As Spring is at our doorstep and winter is well off our minds, it might be time for a service on your air conditioner. Especially if it wasn’t running through winter. Trapped moisture in your air conditioner can become poisonous mould and can make you and your family very sick. These pathogens can also cause damage to internal parts which increase service callouts and can be quite costly if left for a long period of time.

Another significant source of the three M’s is exposed ground under your floorboardsCapping this with a DPC (durable, impermeable material such as slate, felt paper, metal, plastic or special engineered bricks) and a concrete layer will solve this.

If you can’t find the exact location of the odour, a general treatment is available by a whole-home dehumidifier. This will automatically remove sufficient moisture from the air without turning you into a raisin.

Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke can accumulate in the filter and evaporator coil, impacting the lifespan of both. Each time the air conditioner is turned on, it will distribute the smell of stale cigarette smoke. You will need to change or clean the filter at least once per month and may require a professional clean if the scent is embedded in the coils. The purpose of air filters is to prevent dirt and debris from getting into the unit and causing clogs and other problems. Cigarette smoke rapidly coats an AC filter with residue, and with many other pathogens passing through the filter, will or may result in you needing to clean the filter more often. As well as causing the air quality to degrade due to the gaseous pollutants in the air, which is released by cigarette smoke.

A Burning Smell

If you smell a burning smell and you know your partner isn’t cooking something is burning, you are right. Turn the air conditioner off at the circuit breaker on the mains board and book a service call ASAP with the team at Asset Aircon!

Variances of the smell could be compared to rubber or plastic burning. This could be an indicator of a problem at the mains board or the motor’s fan, or your air conditioner is overheating. Whether it be as simple as a clogged filter working overtime, or electrical components burning, its time to turn off all power, and call in the experts.

Once the circuit breaker is off, check if the smell subsides. If you can still smell it, call the fire department and follow their guidelines, i.e. evacuate. Please don’t try and DIY, this is one for the professionals! Call Asset Aircon and get your air conditioner fully repaired and service so it doesn’t happen again.


If the smell is a nose curler but one that causes you to gag, it’s probably the outlet pipes, sewer pipes or your greywater system pipes. Your aircon should never smell like sewage! Traps should be installed to ALL pipes leading outside. This is not only for smells but to prevent unwanted visitors as well.

These traps can dry out due to temperature or high winds. To fix this, turn on the taps in all of your basins and sinks and let them run for a few minutes. This should fill all the P-traps, sealing off the smells.

If the trap refill attempt doesn’t work, you might have a blocked sewer pipe (big, smelly fix right there – be sure to go away for the weekend… far away) or you have a ruptured sewer vent pipe (fingers crossed its this because it’s an easy fix). Sewer gases are dangerous, don’t ignore this or attempt to solve it yourself.

Rotting Smell

If you have a rotting smell, you definitely won’t ignore it. Step one is turning off the air conditioner. Open all doors and windows and get a good dose of fresh air moving through the area.

A rotting smell is usually due to an animal that has passed away. Geckos and rodents can take shelter in your air duct during winter, where they can often die and cause the rotting smell to waft through your AC and into your home. Call your air conditioner service professional and a pest management company immediately.  There will be a lot of bacteria breeding in the dead animal, and maggots will be brewing as well. Once you have made these calls, you can run screaming from the building.

Rotten Eggs

A smell that reminds you strongly of rotten eggs could very likely be the smell of leaking gas, given, you don’t actually have rotten eggs in your house. What most people don’t know is that gas is odourless. Energy suppliers are legally required to add a chemical called mercaptan to their products, thus the rotten-egg smell. Couldn’t they have chosen mint or Guilty by Gucci? Yes, we are boujee!

Another indicator of a gas leak is a line of lawn or plants changing to an odd brown/orangey colour. Don’t operate anything electrical as the tiniest spark might combust, and you may be saying goodbye to your eyebrows!

Don’t use a lighter or match or try to smoke. Put out any candles, barbeques or any other flame. Open all doors and windows. Don’t try to mask smells with incense, that forgotten bottle of Old Spice or air freshener. You are compromising your health.

All these odours can tell you a lot about your air conditioner. Let the team at Asset Aircon help with all these, so you can get back to enjoying your Netflix and chill. We provide services, maintenance and repairs throughout the whole Gold Coast all the way from Surfers Paradise to Southport, from Springbrook to Stapylton and beyond! Call us today on 07 5596 1033 or email us at [email protected]

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ARC Number: AU442920

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