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Why Does My HVAC Smell Like Skunk?

NexGen Why Does My HVAC Smell Like Skunk

Every HVAC problem invokes a sense of dread. Is it something minor, or will you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on repairs? Foul odors usually mean big problems. If your HVAC smells like skunk, the source may or may not be rodents, but there’s no doubt a professional should check it out.

A strong, unpleasant odor may suddenly occur for the following reasons:

Rodent Infestation

Small rodents and other animals like nesting in sheltered places. Crawl spaces and air ducts are ideal for them, especially if there’s a food source nearby. An infestation in these places can release particles, odors, and viruses into the air that circulates throughout your home. 

To investigate whether you have an infestation in your HVAC system, remove the vent covers and look for signs of animal activity. Hair, food particles, and droppings are telltale signs. If the scent is coming from that area, it will be stronger when you remove the vent cover. Also, check for damage to your home’s foundation and exterior. 

If one or both of these issues are present, call an exterminator and someone to clean out your HVAC system.

A Skunk Did Spray Outside Your Home

If your HVAC smells like skunk, one may have sprayed nearby, and the odor may be detectable inside. It can also reach your AC system and propagate through your ductwork. If you can determine that a skunk is outside and probably sprayed, turn off the AC until the smell dissipates. The odor should go away once you turn it on again.

Gas Leak

A skunk odor in your home should be taken seriously because of the potential for a gas leak, especially if you have a furnace or other gas appliances. Although a gas leak usually smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, methyl mercaptan (what gas companies add to make gas leaks detectable) can smell like skunk spray to some people. Natural gas is otherwise odorless but very dangerous. 

If you can’t find any other source of the skunk smell, evacuate your home and call for help. The gas can make you sick and carbon monoxide may be present.

Sewer Gas

It’s not hard to confuse the smell of natural gas and sewer gas. Originating from your sanitary sewer line or septic system, these odors are created by methane combined with hydrogen sulfide and other gases. Hydrogen sulfide is produced as plant and animal materials decompose. 

One way to deal with a sewer gas odor is to run a rarely-used faucet. The drain may have dried out, allowing sewer gas to back up. Letting the water run can stop this from happening. If your HVAC smells like skunk, check for underutilized plumbing fixtures. If running a faucet doesn’t fix the issue, there may be a broken drain line or clogged pipe.

Therefore, a skunk odor can be caused by an HVAC or plumbing problem, so you’ll need a professional to determine the source.

Call NexGen If Your HVAC Smells Like Skunk

Our HVAC professionals can provide AC repair and maintenance if a skunk odor is in your home. They can also determine if the issue is coming from your plumbing or sewer lines, or if there’s a potential gas leak. We can fix your air conditioning system, repair plumbing (including gas lines), and clean drains as necessary. Affordable, low-interest financing is available upon approved credit. Call (833) 729-9735 to learn more or schedule service.



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