6 Common Heat Pump Smells Explained

September 30, 2021

If you’re noticing a smell from your heat pump, it’s attempting to tell you that something is wrong. We’ve put together a list of the top six heat pump smells, what causes them and how you can repair them.

  1. Heat pump smells musty
  2. Heat pump smells like fish
  3. Heat pump smells like sulfur
  4. Heat pump smells like sewer
  5. Heat pump smells like burning
  6. Heat pump defrost cycle smells

1. Heat Pump Smells Musty

If your heat pump smells musty, there’s probably mold growing on moist evaporator coils or in the ductwork. This heat pump odor is often called dirty sock syndrome. You can prevent this by scheduling regular heat pump maintenance and air duct cleaning.

2. Heat Pump Smells Like Fish

If your heat pump smells like fish, there could be several things wrong:

  • Overheated motor
  • Wiring issue
  • Plastic components or coating is melting
  • Other mechanical problem

Electrical problems are serious, so turn your heat pump system off right away at the breaker box and call us at 334-245-4748 for heat pump repair.

3. Heat Pump Smells Like Sulfur

Usually when you smell a rotten egg smell, you have a gas leak. But your heat pump doesn’t use natural gas. If your heat pump smells like sulfur, a small animal may have gotten inside it for warmth and died. One of our Farnell Mechanical, Inc. [techs can eliminate the smell by cleaning your heat pump.

4. Heat Pump Smells Like Sewer

As we mentioned earlier, your heat pump is electric, so any rotten egg smells are linked to a gas leak somewhere else. If your heat pump smells like sewer, you might be dealing with a backed-up or broken sewer line. We recommend contacting a company that does sewer line repair.

5. Heat Pump Smells Like Burning

You might have an electrical issue if your heat pump smells like burning, burning plastic or burning rubber. This burning smell can be the result of melting plastic on electrical wires. Electrical problems in HVAC systems are serious and could cause a fire. If you notice this smell, turn off your heat pump at the breaker and call us at 334-245-4748.

6. Heat Pump Defrost Cycle Smells

Like we mentioned earlier, a dirty socks smell can happen when your evaporator coils need cleaning. You might experience this smell when your heat pump is in defrost mode.

It’s common for your heat pump to have to turn on defrost mode during heating season. When the air is much cooler, frost can form fast on the coils from condensation and impede heating. During defrost mode, your heat pump temporarily switches to cooling to get rid of the frost.

Having a Farnell Mechanical, Inc. HVAC technician clean the coils will help get rid of the smell.

Depend on for Your Heat Pump Repair Needs

It can be difficult to troubleshoot your heat pump by yourself. Your comfort matters to us at Farnell Mechanical, Inc., so you can count on our professionals to assist you when you need us. When you need heat pump repair in Opelika that you can depend on, call us at 334-245-4748.