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 created a list of the most common 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 likely 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:

  • Motor is too hot
  • Wiring problem
  • Plastic components or coating is melting
  • Other mechanical problem

Electrical problems are serious, so shut your heat pump system off immediately at the breaker box and contact us at 772-353-4633 for heat pump repair.

3. Heat Pump Smells Like Sulfur

Normally when you are dealing with a rotten egg smell, you’re dealing with a gas leak. But your heat pump doesn’t run on natural gas. If your heat pump smells like sulfur, a little animal may have gotten inside it for warmth and died. One of our Breathe Healthier Air [technicians 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 have a backed-up or broken sewer line. We suggest contacting a company that does sewer line repair.

5. Heat Pump Smells Like Burning

You might have an electrical problem 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 issues in HVAC systems are dangerous and could lead to a fire. If you notice this smell, turn off your heat pump at the breaker and call us at 772-353-4633.

6. Heat Pump Defrost Cycle Smells

Like we talked about previously, a dirty socks smell can happen when your evaporator coils need to be cleaned. You might notice this smell when your heat pump is in defrost mode.

It’s common for your heat pump to have to use defrost mode during heating season. When the air is much cooler, frost can form quickly on the coils from condensation and interfere with heating. During defrost mode, your heat pump briefly switches to air conditioning to remove the frost.

Having a Breathe Healthier Air HVAC technician clean the coils will help eliminate 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 Breathe Healthier Air, so you can count on our professionals to assist you when you need us. When you need heat pump repair in Stuart that you can depend on, call us at 772-353-4633.