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Why Is a Burning Smell Coming from My Air Conditioner?

air-conditioner-burning-smellThere are not many places in the U.S. that it would be more unbearable to be stuck with a malfunctioning air conditioning system than in Texas. Fortunately, there are a lot of signs to look for that something could be wrong with your cooling system.

The sooner you spot them and call for San Antonio, TX air conditioning repairs, the better off you’ll be. A relatively common service call we get is in regards to odd smells coming from the cooling system. Keep reading to learn more about what causes this and what you should do about it.

A Musty Odor

Mildew can develop due to something growing in your ductwork, or even from a clogged condensate line in the system itself. As your air conditioner cools air, moisture coalesces and falls into a drip pan. A line from the pan should take the condensation out of the system.

However, if the pan gets misaligned somehow, or the drain line gets clogged, then the liquid will stay in the system and become stagnate. If left unaddressed, your system will typically automatically shut off as a safety feature when it detects an overflow of water. However, a risk with this is that the moisture will short out key components, such as the fan motor.

What About Burning Smells?

Your AC system runs on electricity—even a gas powered HVAC system requires an electric igniter. Therefore, there is the potential for an electrical fire. If you do smell burning coming from your air conditioning unit, the best thing to do is shut the system down all together and call for repairs right away. Ideally, it won’t be an electrical problem at all, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the other potential causes for this odor, such as:

  • A Failing Motor: Inside your cooling system’s interior cabinet is a blower motor. If it’s lost its lubrications or has developed a thick layer of dust, then it can begin to undergo significant stress that will lead to overheating. When this occurs, it causes the wiring inside to fuse together and to the casting, which creates a burning smell. You’ll need to call for prompt services to see if your motor can be salvaged. If it cannot, it will need to be replaced.
  • Clogged Air Filter: The air filter within your air conditioner is there to protect its inside component from dirt, dust, and other debris. If the filter becomes to clogged, it can certainly be the source of a burning smell—this is because burning odors from your home or charred particles can become trapped in the filter, and add their acrid smell to the air form the vents. Go ahead and change your filter—something you should be doing every 1-3 months during periods of system use anyway—and give our staff a call so we can ensure that the clogging hasn’t caused damage elsewhere.

For quality air conditioner repair services and professional maintenance throughout the San Antonio area, contact Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating today.

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