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0% Interest Up To 60 Months On New Trane System *On Select Systems!

Why Your Heat Pump Smells: Causes & Solutions

You’ve invested in a brand new heat pump for your home and are looking forward to even, consistent heat, not strange smells. So why does your house smell like the inside of a car fresh off the line? Or maybe your heat pump is making your house smell musty or dirty?

Here’s why your heat pump smells weird, when to worry, and what you can do about it.

That New Heat Pump Smell

If you recently had a new heat pump installed then that sort of sweet, sort of chemical, new car smell coming from your new heat pump isn’t out of the ordinary. In fact, it’s pretty standard for new heat pumps. It’s that fresh-off-the-assembly-line parts inside the heat pump, especially the materials used in the heating elements and coils. These smells should go away quickly.

You would be proud of that new car smell, so go ahead and pat yourself on the back for the acquisition of your brand-new heat pump!

But what if the smell isn’t going away… or if you are not so sure that’s “new heat pump smell” and it smells musty?

We can fix heat pump smell issues like a musty smell

Why Does My Heat Pump Smell? 13 Possible Reasons

Not sure the smell you are smelling is just normal heat pump smell? Smelling something different?

Here’s a breakdown of heat pump smells that people have reported and what they might mean.

1.) Rotten Egg 

The scent of rotten eggs suggests a gas leak or possible melting of plastic or rubber components within your system This could mean something is malfunction and your system needs to be checked by one of our professionals.

2.) Smoke or Burning Plastic 

Smell of smoke or burning plastic suggests a serious issue that needs immediate attention, as it may mean fire in your heat pump. Switch off your system and call for help at once.

Smell of something burning can be caused by the buildup for dirt or dust within the heat pump. Other reasons could be due to a dirty air filter. Since our HVAC systems are used heavily here in Florida, your air filter is probably replaced monthly, but if it hasn’t been replaced recently, get a new filter and see if the smell goes away. If the smell does not go away quickly, turn off your heat pump and contact Millian Aire for a system diagnosis and possible repair.

3.) Plastic or Rubber Burning

The smell of plastic or rubber burning typically means parts within your heat pump are overheating or melting. Turn off the system and contact a service technician immediately.

4.) Electrical 

An electrical smell is indicative of sparking or shorting within your heat pump. Switch off the system and call a professional.

5.) Fishy or Sewage 

Foul odors of fish or sewage are associated with serious electrical issues that can potentially lead to fire hazards. A rotten fish smell could mean there was an improper installation, damage to your system’s wiring. Usually plactic or rubber components that are starting to melt will product this type of odor. If you are smelling a rotten fish smell, turn off your system immediately and contact Millian Aire.

6.) Chemical or Chlorine

A chemical smell typically means a refrigerant leakage. Cracks or damage to the heat pump system can lead to leaks. Exposure to refrigerant can pose health risks, an HVAC system leaking refrigerant won’t work properly, so give us a call if your heat pump has a chemical smell.

7.) Sweet or Sugary 

A sweet or syrupy scent might also point towards a refrigerant leak, similar to the chemical smell. Refrigerant smells more sweet or more chemical to different people. To both protect your health and maintain your heat pump, call Millian Aire so we can come check your system for you.

8.) Musty or Mildew 

Musty or mildew smells indicate moisture. In Tampa’s warm, humid climate, any sustained moisture is a prime environment for mold and mildew. Regular maintenance and cleaning generally resolves and prevents these smells. If the problem is persistent, running a dehumidifier in your home may help.

Millian Aire also offers other indoor air quality products such as UV bulbs that help prevent mold and mildew within the air handler.

9.) Oily or Greasy 

The smell of oil or grease might indicate a problem with the heat pump’s motor. Sometimes, mechanical parts require lubrication, cleaning, or replacement, and produce a greasy smell as they rub together.

10.) Metallic 

A metallic odor is generally due to overheating components due to friction between moving parts. It can also be caused by faulty wiring and outdated components. Regardless, its best to get a technician out to find out where the parts aren’t moving properly or what wiring has failed.

11.) Vinegar 

A vinegar-like smell probably means bacterial growth in the system. Regular servicing and cleaning of your ducts and replacing your filters can remedy this.

12.) Gas or Fuel 

Smells resembling gas or fuel signal a potentially serious problem. Overheating parts or motor malfunction might be the cause, and professional help should be sought urgently.

13.) Stale or Stagnant 

Stale, stagnant odors often stem from dust and dirt accumulation within the filter or ducts. Regular cleaning or replacements can help alleviate this problem. This can also be a normal smell for the first few times you have turned on your heat pump in a long time. In Florida, we don’t normally need to turn on the heat but a couple of times each year. When the need arises and you turn on that heat pump for the first time since last year, it could just be the normal smell that will dissipate and resolve on its own.

Call Us If You Smell Something Strange When Your Heat Pump Turns On

Odors shouldn’t be part of your heat pump’s operation after the initial “new heat pump smell” wears off. Unusual smells are often the first alert of an underlying issue.

When in doubt, always error on the side of caution. If a smell bothers you, or if it persists longer than expected, don’t hesitate to bring in a professional. It’s better to be safe than sorry. We’re happy to talk with you about what you’re smelling and help you decide whether you need a service visit or not.

If something smells off to you (and especially if it smells like a rotten egg!), contact Millian Aire immediately.

Heat Pump Smells Musty - Solution may be a UV Light

Tips for Maintaining a Smell-Free Heat Pump

Heat pumps shouldn’t smell bad. Here are some easy tips for remedying your stinky heat pump

Clean Filters

Dirty filters are notorious for causing unpleasant smells. Dust, pollen, and even certain microorganisms accumulate on filters, leading to not just stinky, but dirty and contaminated air.

Millian Aire suggests that you replace your air filters once every month at minimum. This will help with any bad smells you are smelling, especially from your heat pump.

Protect Your Heat Pump with Professional Maintenance

Regular maintenance ensures your heat pump operates at its best, prevents the need for many costly repairs, prevents unwanted odor, and keeps the air you breath clean and healthy.

During routine maintenance, the specialists at Millian Aire disassemble components of your heat pump, executing an exhaustive clean and inspection, spotting potential problems like deterioration, dirt accumulation, and moisture retention before they cause problems.

Furthermore, the technician examines your entire HVAC system, looking for issues like leaks, unstable connections, impaired coils, and defective parts.

Regular cleaning and professional maintenance from Millian Aire is a proactive step towards maintaining an odor-free heating system that works at top efficiency for many years to come.

Give Millian Aire a call today if you are experiencing a musty smell with your heat pump. As cooler weather comes to Florida, your heat pump will most likely smell the first few times you turn it on – most of the time these smells are normal and will disappear quickly, but if you find that your heat pump continually smells then give us a call!

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