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 up. We’ve put together a list of the top six heat pump smells, what causes them and how you can fix 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 wet evaporator coils or in the ductwork. This heat pump odor is often called dirty sock syndrome. You can avoid 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 issue
  • Plastic components or coating is melting
  • Other mechanical issue

Electrical problems are dangerous, so shut your heat pump system off immediately at the breaker box and contact us at 714-855-1717 for heat pump repair.

3. Heat Pump Smells Like Sulfur

Usually when you are dealing with 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 Eco Fresh HVAC 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 tied to a gas leak elsewhere. If your heat pump smells like sewer, you might have a backed-up or broken sewer line. We recommend getting in touch with a company that does sewer line repair.

5. Heat Pump Smells Like Burning

You might be dealing with 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 serious and could cause a fire. If you notice this smell, shut off your heat pump at the breaker and call us at 714-855-1717.

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 goes into defrost mode.

It’s typical for your heat pump to have to turn on defrost mode during heating season. When the air is much colder, 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 Eco Fresh HVAC Inc. 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 Eco Fresh HVAC Inc., so you can count on our professionals to assist you when you need us. When you need heat pump repair in Anaheim that you can depend on, call us at 714-855-1717.