air conditioning vent with ac unit that is blowing smoke

The air conditioner is an integral part of your home because of the comfort it brings to your family. However, what do you do if it encounters an issue? Like any piece of machinery, an air conditioner will experience a problem as it ages. For example, if smoke is coming out of the air conditioning vents, take a moment to determine if it is accompanied by a smell. This article will help you identify likely problems, but it is still best to consult an HVAC professional to ensure it isn’t a severe or potentially dangerous problem. They have the trained eye to find the reason behind an air conditioner blowing smoke.

Air Conditioner Blows Smoke: Causes & Solutions

This article explains several common culprits behind the smoke homeowners see coming out of their vents when their cooling system is on.

AC Condensation Accumulating In The Heater Box

condensation from air conditioner

It is highly likely that the white smoke you see coming out of the cooling system’s vents isn’t smoke. There is a good chance that it is just condensation, especially if the white fog doesn’t have a smell.

The air conditioner’s cooling cycle includes pulling in warm air that is then cooled. As a result of this process, condensation is produced. When moisture builds up in the heater box, it may eventually turn into vapor and get released with the cooled air, so you see white smoke coming from the air conditioner vents. A clogged drain line could be the reason behind the water build-up in the heater box.

Cold Dry Air Collides With Warm Air

White fog commonly forms when cold air hits warm air that is highly humid. This is like when you go out on a cold day and see your breath coming out of your mouth. When warm, moist air hits cool, dry air, condensation forms, and it will be seen as white fog or smoke.

The air conditioner not getting proper airflow is a common culprit for this issue. You can help minimize the problem by setting your air conditioner on high, so your home cools faster. You should also make sure to clean or replace the air filters regularly. Annual air conditioner inspections from a licensed professional help make sure that your cooling equipment functions as it should.

Air Conditioner Drain Hole is Clogged

air conditioner condenser unit

Unlike older air conditioners, many new AC models aren’t equipped with drain holes. The evaporator coil of the air conditioner generates moisture during the cooling process. This water should be drained, and the condensate drain line helps with that. This component helps drain the water outside, away from your cooling unit. Unfortunately, it can get clogged as time passes, and this can cause the water to back up into your air conditioner. A white fog will then be released from the vents if this happens. Prevent drain line issues with regular air conditioner tune-ups.

Failure Of An A/C Component

Most homes are equipped with air conditioners. However, these cooling units are often placed under heavy strain as they try to keep up with the cooling demands of your home during the summer season.

It is also natural for the cooling unit’s components to eventually fail as the system ages. If your air conditioner uses a belt-driven fan, the smoke could be due to a faulty fan belt.
Another cause is the fan’s motor burning out. If a foul smell accompanies the smoke from the vents, you must turn the air conditioner off right away. This smoke can be toxic. A trained HVAC technician can diagnose and repair the problem. At times, the best solution is to replace your old air conditioner.

Overheating Air Conditioning Unit

man plugging nose due to smelly air conditioner

White smoke that smells strange is likely a more severe problem than condensation. An air conditioner consists of many electrical components that can overheat, especially if the air conditioning unit doesn’t receive proper airflow. An overheating air conditioning unit is a problem to pay attention to.

The problem could be due to a blocked HVAC air filter or clogged vents. You must switch the air conditioner off immediately and call a reliable HVAC technician to prevent serious problems. An HVAC professional will determine which components are overheating and possibly need replacing so that your air conditioner can cool your home safely again.

Air Conditioner Electrical Problems

Your air conditioner might be releasing smoke from the vents if it has wiring issues. Keep in mind that a cooling system is made up of many wires and electrical links. If one of these fails, smoke with a bad odor can come out of the vents.

To reiterate, turn off the air conditioner as soon as you notice that it is emitting an unusual smell. Electrical issues pose an extreme danger and can even cause a fire if neglected. This problem needs the expertise of a trained HVAC technician.

Is Your Air Conditioner Setting Off The Smoke Alarm?

air conditioner setting off smoke alarm

It might be unsettling when the smoke alarm goes off, but there is a high chance that smoke isn’t the root cause of your alarm going off. In general, an air conditioner setting off the smoke alarm is likely due to a power surge.

Unplug the air conditioning system or pull the breaker for it if this happens. Call a professional immediately afterward. The way the air conditioner was installed or the home’s electrical system is likely the cause of the problem.

Is The White Smoke Coming From Your Air Conditioner Odorless?

When you see white smoke coming out of your air conditioner vents, take action right away. First, determine if the smoke has a smell. If it doesn’t, it is likely because of a condensation issue. However, you still shouldn’t ignore it because other issues could crop up if the air conditioner isn’t draining correctly.

On the other hand, if the white smoke has a bad smell, you are likely dealing with a failing component or an electrical issue. It is important to switch off your air conditioner immediately and contact a qualified HVAC technician in both cases.

How To Avoid Smoke Issues With Your Air Conditioner

Homeowners can do several tasks to ensure that the air conditioner is in tiptop shape. This usually begins with annual AC maintenance. An HVAC technician will inspect the unit for any signs of trouble and repair them before they turn into bigger problems. Keep in mind that simple tasks like regularly changing the air filter can also go a long way in avoiding AC problems.
A problem that many people overlook is the air conditioner size. A cooling unit that is too small or too large for the space can cause problems down the line. Discuss this with your HVAC technician if it is a concern.

You must be aware of any cooling system problems you might have. Contact an HVAC professional at the first sign of trouble, like when white smoke comes out of the air conditioner vents. Some issues might not be dangerous, but they can still lead to expensive air conditioner repairs over time. On the other hand, some cooling problems could pose a threat and must be resolved immediately. In this case, a trained and qualified HVAC technician can help you.

Call Tower Energy For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

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Tower Energy provides high-quality heating and cooling services in Hartford County, Connecticut. We have only the best professionally certified technicians for all your HVAC service needs, such as air conditioner maintenance, boiler installation, furnace repairs, and many more. Each of our techs has the knowledge, skills, and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

Rest assured, Tower Energy has highly affordable HVAC service rates in the area. Our tune-up services can improve your comfort and energy efficiency while reducing your energy costs. If you need an HVAC repair or replacement system, we can recommend the most suitable one for your home that’s within your budget. All our work is guaranteed to ensure your satisfaction. Call Tower Energy and schedule a service appointment today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.