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Over time, your heat pump can start to emit certain odors which could indicate it is time for a heat pump repair service or a new heat pump furnace installation. Before you assume that you must replace your heat pump, it is a good idea to first identify the type of odor or smell coming from the unit. By identifying the smell, it can indicate what is wrong and what you need to do.

Burning Smell

If it has been a while since you used your heat pump to heat your home, this smell is quite common. Essentially, the smell is the dust that is on the heating coils which is being burnt off. The smell should go away after one or two complete heating cycles. If not, you will want to schedule repair service for your heat pump.

Dirty Gym Socks/Locker Room Smell

If your unit has that weird funky smell you notice when you have dirty gym socks or when you walk into the locker room at your local fitness center, it could indicate the presence of mold and/or mildew on the heating/cooling coils. Mold and mildew can form because there is moisture almost continuously on the coils as the unit cycles from heating or cooling to the defrost cycle.

This type of odor is also similar to the one you might notice when you use the air conditioning in your car for the first time in the summer. This smell is common with all makes, models, and brands of heat pumps, especially in humid or warmer climates. Most people notice this smell when their units are running the “defrost” cycle.

To get rid of this smell, you will want to have your heat pump repair technician clean the heating and cooling coils. To keep it from returning, it is a good idea to have your heat pump coils cleaned at least twice a year.

Rotten Eggs/Sulphur

While this smell is common with gas furnaces when there is a gas leak, with heat pumps it often means a small animal has gotten inside the outdoor unit and died. You will want to have your repair technician remove the dead animal and clean your unit to stop the smell.

Burning Plastic/Hot Electrical Smell

This smell is an indication something is wrong with the heat pump. There could be an exposed wire, electrical short, or overheating motor. If you notice this smell, shut off the heat pump and call for repair service right away.

DO NOT continue to run your heat pump. If you do, there is a risk of an electrical fire, which could result in burning up your outdoor unit. Not to mention, it could cost you much more to repair since you would need to buy a brand new heat pump.

plumber at work installing a circulation pump

How to Prevent Heat Pump Odors

The easiest way to prevent unwanted heat pump odors is with regular preventative maintenance services. Many heating and AC companies offer different types of maintenance plans, which can include a variety of different services to keep your heat pump running great and stop odors before they occur.

To learn more about preventative maintenance plans or to schedule service on your heat pump, furnace, or AC, please feel free to call A+ Services at 360-491-2900 today! We service the Olympia, Thurston, and Pierce County areas.

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