If you’re recognizing a smell from your heat pump, it’s trying to tell you that something is wrong. We’ve created 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. Your Heat Pump Smells Like Mold

If your heat pump smells musty, there’s likely mold growing on damp evaporator coils or in the ductwork. This heat pump odor is often referred to as dirty sock syndrome. You can avoid this by scheduling regular heat pump maintenance and air duct cleaning.

2. My Heat Pump Has a Fishy Smell

If your heat pump smells like fish, there could be a few things wrong:

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

Electrical problems are unsafe, so shut your heat pump system off as soon as possible at the breaker box and call us at 503-213-4433 for heat pump repair.

3. The Heat Pump Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Usually when you smell a rotten egg smell, you have 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 crawled inside it for warmth and died. One of our Three Rivers Heating & Cooling experts can get rid of the smell by cleaning your heat pump.

4. The Heat Pump Smells Like Sewage

As we reviewed earlier, your heat pump is electric, so any rotten egg smells are tied to a gas leak in another place. If your heat pump smells like sewer, you might have a backed-up or broken sewer line. We advise calling a company that does sewer line repair.

5. My Heat Pump Smells Burnt

You might have an electrical concern if your heat pump smells like burning, burning plastic or burning rubber. This burning smell can be due to melting plastic on electrical wires. Electrical problems in HVAC systems are serious and could lead to a fire. If you notice this smell, shut off your heat pump at the breaker and call us at 503-213-4433.

6. Why Your Heat Pump Defrost Cycle Smells

Like we talked about previously, a dirty socks smell can happen when your evaporator coils need cleaning. You might experience this smell when your heat pump is in 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 impede heating. During defrost mode, your heat pump shortly switches to ac to remove the frost.

Having a Three Rivers Heating & Cooling HVAC technician clean the coils will help eliminate the odor.

Depend on for Your Heat Pump Repair Needs

It can be difficult to troubleshoot your heat pump by alone. Your comfort matters to us at Three Rivers Heating & Cooling, so you can count on our experts to support you when you need us. When you need heat pump repair in Portland that you can rely on, call us at 503-213-4433.