Strange Smells Coming from Your Air Ducts

Strange Smells Coming from Your Air Ducts

Since we know you spend a lot of time making sure your house is perfectly clean (right?), We imagine that you wouldn’t want any strange smells to be circulating around your home. Well, sometimes, your HVAC system can smell a little bit off. In order to solve the problem, you should learn to recognize certain, strange smells that could be coming from your air ducts.

Smelly Feet

If water pools and remains stagnant in your AC unit, the air coming through your ducts can smell similar to that of stinky feet. Repairing or replacing your drain pan is typically a good solution to fixing this problem.

Mildew or Mold

You know that musty smell that is sometimes present in crawl spaces or basements? Well, sometimes, it can also be present in your air ducts. Your air ducts smelling like mildew is typically caused by one of two things:

  • Dirty Filter: If your filter is clogged, as air tries to pass through it, moisture can build up and make for an unpleasant smell.

  • Drain Pan Issues: If your drain pan isn’t getting rid of water properly, the sitting water can develop a mildew-like smell.

Especially for health purposes, it’s important to take care of any mildew-like odors before mold has the chance to grow inside your air ducts and put your family at greater risk.


This can sometimes be common if someone in your household smokes cigarettes or cigars. The smoke and oil can remain in your condenser unit and the smell can cycle through your home whenever your AC kicks on. Typically, this can be resolved by having your condenser coil cleaned.

When something seems to be off with your air ducts or HVAC system, contact the experts at Wahl Family Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing for help. We’ve been in your neighborhood since 1980, so you know you can our trust service!