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How to Find the Source of the Nasty Odors Coming from the Air Ducts

The day will come when you’ll mind your business, and suddenly an odor will assault you when the AC is running a cycle. Your greatest task from that moment will be to find the source of the order and invent ways to get out of it. Please eliminate odors from the air duct as soon as you notice them since some causes could be detrimental to your health. You can try to find the source of the odor yourself, or you can visit to get in touch with a duct cleaning expert. The better choice is always to hire an expert to get the most out of your money.

Sources of the Nasty Odors Coming from the Air Ducts

Let’s go over some of the potential sources of nasty odors from the air ducts.

  • Check Lines or Gas Cylinders for Leaks

Gas leaks can happen and then release carbon monoxide. When there is a gas leak. The odor coming from the air ducts will be that of rotten eggs. Manufacturers add it to natural gas to make it detectable when there is a leak. Natural gas is volatile, so only an expert should get to the bottom of the leak.

As you wait for your utility company, you must open windows and doors in your house. The experts will then examine gas lines and cylinders for gas leaks. Trained personnel have the tools and skills to find where the gas leak comes from and how it gets into the vents leading to your space.

  • Examine the Ductwork

Is the smell of rotting garbage or dirt socks coming from the ductwork? Then it’s like mold mildew is growing, or something died there. Small animals and vermin seek shelter in the ductwork during winter. The smell comes if the animals happen to pass away in the ductwork.

A trained technician can look inside the ductwork and techniques to know where the dead animals are. Your technician might suggest cleaning the ductwork to see if it helps eliminate the odor. Not only is it a solution to eliminate the odor, but it also helps discover whether the problem is mold, mildew, or dead vermin in the ductwork.

  • Look for Buildup in the Filter

A dirty filter could be the reason for the odor coming from the air duct. It happens that the filter traps debris. The debris traps moisture, encouraging mold to grow to cause a bad smell. Besides the clog causing a bad smell, it stops airflow, so you won’t receive fresh air in the amounts you expect.

Checking the filter often can help you discover if it’s the source of the odor coming from the vents. Experts recommend checking the filter every few months and changing it just as frequently. Tending to the filter should take away bad smells. If it doesn’t work, you best look for an alternative source of odor crossing through the ductwork.

  • Check Condensate Drain for Clogs

The source of nasty odors from the air ducts could be a problem with the condensate drain. Excess moisture from the air conditioner drains through here, coming from the collection pan. A clog results in water pooling in the condenser drain, facilitating bacteria mold and mildew growth.

That’s the source of the odor. It smells like stale air or stinky feet. You can get rid of the smell by sucking up the water. It also would be good to request a technician to look at the condenser instead of doing it yourself. Treat yourself to convenience and safety. 

  • Check Sewer Vents Pipe for Cracks

Do you know what a septic or sewer odor smells like? It is hard to miss this kind of odor coming through your vents. Typically, you will run into this odor during winter or when you use the furnace.

Sewer odors reach you when the sewer line has cracked and the leak has gone into the ductwork. Also, the condensate drains could be connected to the sewer without a tarp. Have a professional check if that’s the case and schedule repairs as soon as possible.

  • Examine Heating System

Don’t panic when you smell a burning gas coming through the air ducts every time you run the heater. It’s typical of the heater to produce that smell but it should fade after a few minutes. If it lasts, there might be a leak in the HVAC system. The leak could also be from a joint pipe. Call an expert to check on it.

Reasons to Let a Professional Handle Air Duct Odors

While you can look for odor sources from the ducts, it’s best to leave it to an expert. One reason you should do that is that an expert knows precisely where to check, which saves time. If you DIY, you are likely to take a lot of time. A technician has examined plenty of systems, so they have plenty of experience.

There is a risk of causing damage to the ductwork or the HVAC system if you choose to look for the source of odor yourself. You’ll end up paying for repairs and replacements, which you could avoid by hiring an expert.

The solutions that an expert comes up with to eliminate odors are usually long-lasting. A quick fix may prove costly in the long term and could damage your system. Your technician knows what tools to use and how to reach and fix odor sources.


You can experience odor from the air ducts in your building at any time. You need to find out the source of the bad smells for you to know how to get rid of them. Look into hiring an expert instead of dealing with the mess yourself. The last thing you want is to risk damage to the air ducts in an attempt to clean them.