How To Get Rid Of Smell From Heat Pump? Expert Tips

Photo of author

By Debarghya Roy


Heat pumps are a must for home comfort. But sometimes they emit odors. To get rid of them, you need to figure out the source. 

Common causes are,

  1.  Dirty air filters.
  2.  Growth in ductwork or on evaporator coils.
  3. Blower motor.
  4. Wiring issues.
  5. Gas leaks

Maintenance can help prevent these problems. If they arise, Air Commander Heating & Cooling can diagnose and solve them.

Inspections can stop overheating or fire damage. Homeowners should also watch out for their unique heat pump smells, like the “dirty sock syndrome”. Electrical issues can cause overheating, so call in HVAC technicians right away.

Recently, I had a burning rubber/plastic smell from my heat pump. It turned out that dust was blocking the air filter and making the blower motor overheat. By getting professionals to clean the unit and replace the filter, I avoided damage and discomfort.

From mold to dirty socks, there are many possible heat pump odors. Take action fast to avoid problems!

Understanding The Causes Of Smell In Heat Pumps.

How To Get Rid Of Smell From Heat Pump

Heat pumps can emit unpleasant smells. Knowing why is essential. Maintenance is needed to avoid odors. 

There are various causes such as

  • ‘Dirty Sock Syndrome’ may come from bacteria and mold in the unit or ductwork.
  • Overheating of the blower motor or electrical issues can cause a burnt scent.
  • Other sources might be vent blockage or gas leaks.
  • Too-closed vents can imbalance temperature and smell hot.

To prevent and eliminate smells, first, identify their source. Cleaning evaporator coils and air filters, and regular maintenance by an HVAC pro can help. 

Remember: Neglect is the smelliest cologne!

Maintenance And Routine Checks For Heat Pump. 

Maintaining and Examining Your Heat Pump is Essential to Keep its Performance Optimal.

To keep your heat pump running smoothly, regular maintenance and inspections are a must. Not taking proper care of your heat pump can lead to costly repairs and major problems. 

Here’s what you should take into account:

  • Clean the air filter: Ventilation must be good throughout the system, so the air filter needs to be regularly cleaned or replaced.
  • Check the ductwork: Make sure vents are open, none are blocked, and no dust blocks the ducts.
  • Clean the coils: Evaporator coils should be cleaned outside of defrost mode when they become dusty.
  • Avoid dirty air filters: Dirt particles inside rubber/plastic materials can cause odors due to “dirty sock syndrome” which is when bacteria and mold grow.
  • Try not to overheat: Contact a professional if there is an electrical issue resulting in the unit overheating, which can damage the blower motor or other parts.

Additionally, inspect for mold growth inside the unit’s space as it may lead to a fire.

One time a strange smell was coming from the heat pump. The fire department was called out due to concerns about a fire. But it was fixed with a simple repair.

When it comes to repairing your heat pump, it’s best to call a professional. 

Trying to fix it on your own could end up heating things in the worst way.

Professional Services And Repairs For Heat Pump.

How To Get Rid Of Smell From Heat Pump

As a Heat Pump owner, you may experience issues affecting your home’s comfort. Such as problems with air filters or the blower motor. When this happens, Professional HVAC technician services and repairs may be needed.

It is always best to call in professionals to examine the system for any damage and repair it. 

This includes checking the coils, ducts, and vents for potential odors or other problems. Complex issues such as electrical wiring problems or gas leaks require expert professional services. So, it is advised not to attempt repairs on your own.

Yearly routine maintenance should be performed on your heat pump unit to prevent future issues. Cleaning can reduce dust and mold growth, overheating, and closed vents.

Sometimes odors are not from the heat pump itself but from other areas in the home. This is known as dirty sock syndrome (DSS). Air Commander provides comprehensive air filtration solutions for such cases.

Remember to call fire departments in case of strange smells coming from your heat pumps. 

This prevents damage and injuries. Keep your heat pump smelling fresh by maintaining it regularly and troubleshooting odors before they become a problem.

Prevention And Troubleshooting Common Issues Of Heat Pumps.

Owning a heat pump? Maintenance is important for efficiency and long life. 

  • Unpleasant odors from the unit can be common. To avoid and fix this, routine maintenance and pro services are key.
  •  Make sure the air filter is clean. Dirty filters mean bad air and odors. Look for mold or dirty ducts which may have built up.
  • Smells from the pump can have many causes. Dirty sock syndrome, electrical issues, gas leaks, overheating, or bad wiring could be to blame
  • Clean evaporator coils and inspect the blower motor regularly. Closed vents or clogged ducts can cause hot air flow and odors.
  • If something’s burning or there’s foggy smoke coming out, turn off the system and call emergency services right away. 
  • Take care of your heat pump before it’s too late. Hire certified HVAC technicians for yearly inspections to save on repairs and replacements

Smelly heat pump? Get it fixed now!

Frequently Asked Questions.

Q1. What is causing the smell in my heat pump system?

A: The smell in your heat pump system could be caused by a variety of issues such as dirty sock syndrome, an electrical issue with the blower motor, a gas leak, or the growth of mold and other particles inside your duct system.

Q2. How can I get rid of the smell in my heat pump system?

A: One way to get rid of the smell is to have routine maintenance performed on your system by a professional HVAC technician who can clean the heat pump unit, ducts, and evaporator coils. You may also want to check your air filter and replace it if it is dirty or damaged.

Q3. Should I attempt to repair my heat pump system on my own?

A: It is not recommended to attempt repairs on your heat pump system on your own as it can lead to further damage and may even be a fire hazard. It is always best to call for professional repair services to ensure your safety and the long-term health of your system.

Q4. What can I do if my heat pump system is overheating?

A: If you notice that your heat pump system is overheating, you should immediately turn off your system and call for professional repair services. Overheating can cause damage to the wiring and other components in your system and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Q5. Can closed vents or dirty air filters cause odors in my heat pump system? 

A: Yes, closed vents and dirty air filters can cause odors in your heat pump system as they can restrict airflow and cause the system to overheat. It is important to regularly check and replace your air filter and ensure your vents are open to promote proper airflow.

Q6. How often do I need to schedule routine maintenance for my heat pump system?

A: It is recommended to schedule routine maintenance for your heat pump system at least once a year. Regular maintenance can help prevent issues like odors and overheating and can keep your system running at peak efficiency for years to come.


Analyzing the causes of smells in heat pumps reveals that regular maintenance and cleaning are a must. Neglecting this upkeep can lead to Dirty Sock Syndrome, electrical problems, or mold. Professional HVAC technicians can identify and repair odors such as gas leaks and overheating. Keeping an eye on the ducts and air filters is key. Closed vents or dirty filters cause particles to accumulate, leading to bad smells. Checking for leaks and rubber/plastic overheating will avoid further issues. Understanding defrost mode during cold months is important. Heating can cause dirty evaporator coils and funky scents. So, clean evaporator coils and blower motors before switching back to air conditioning mode. In 2018, a fire department was called due to an overheated heat pump with dirty coils. This smoke and stench could have been prevented with maintenance by a pro. This ensures comfort and safety for all.

Heat Pump