5 Heat Pump Odors and What Causes Them

A heat pump may produce a dusty smell when you use it for the first time, but it shouldn’t produce any other strong smells. Those scents are all signs of problems. Read this article to find out what causes the heat pump odors you smell in Hillsborough, NC.

Rotten Fish

Bad smells that remind you of rotten fish often go along with an overheated motor. They can also indicate mechanical damage as well as faulty wiring and melting parts. Shut off the heat pump until an HVAC service tech can examine it.


Musty smells can range from a slight odor that’s similar to a dusty room to intense scents that smell like dirty socks. The odor indicates microbes growing in your ducts. The microbes can also grow on your evaporator coils.

Bad Eggs

When you use natural gas and smell rotten eggs, it’s likely a sign of a gas leak. If you don’t use gas, it can occur when a critter passes away somewhere inside your system. You’ll need a heating repair to find and remove the source of the smell.


Sewer smells occur as bad air circulates through your HVAC system. It can pick up odors produced by a sewer line break or a backed-up pipe. The smell will worsen if you don’t fix the pipe or line.


Burning plastic and rubber smells are a sign of an electrical issue such as bad wiring. It also occurs when the system overheats or any part gets too hot and begins melting. The smell of burning dust tells you that the system has an accumulation of dust that it needs to burn off.

The heat pump odors you detect can occur at any time of the year. It’s hard to determine what causes them because the reasons can range from dust buildup and microbes to damaged parts and overheating. Contact Warren-Hay Mechanical to see what causes those odors and get help deciding when to replace your old system with a new heater.

Image provided by iStock

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