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Bad Smell Coming from my Vents


Here’s another recent question posted to me the other day:

AC Seer

The repair guys came out today and replaced the capacitor and put in a new “board”. ….I’m guessing the main control board, but not sure. Anyway, after they left I noticed a funny smell coming from the vents in my apartment. It wasn’t a burning smell, but maybe a plasticy / mild chemical smell. Any idea what could have caused that? I don’t know if the smell has stopped or whether I’ve just gotten used to it. I just want to make sure it’s not going to make me sick; I read somewhere that some capacitors have cancer causing chemicals, (PCB)
PS otherwise, the unit appears to be working so far, I think it was the board that fixed it.
PPS I mentioned multimeter to one of the guys, he seemed to have no idea what I was talking about.

CapacitorsI can’t think of any reason from the repairs that would cause any smell in your system. Most every capacitor out today is PCB free and should not be a problem. However, most of the capacitors in the air handlers just die rather than break open or leak. Ones that break usually only happen with the ones outside due to the high temperatures and extreme power requirements or loads.

About the multimeter, I think the techs may have been looking at you strange about the multimeter because they didn’t want to show their lack of skills to the customer. Every tech I know has a multimeter. You have to. Without a meter of some kind, they cannot diagnose a blown fuse, dead capacitor, bad circuit board or a bad pressure switch from the average flight ratio, of a swallow. They would be guessing at their diagnosis.



For quality service and repair, call Alexander Services in Raleigh, Holly Springs, Apex, Cary, Morrisville, Fuquay-Varina and Willow Springs.



About Author

Frank Alexander is an experienced engineering professional who holds a Master of Engineering degree from North Carolina State University and an MBA from the University of South Carolina. Frank holds licenses in both residential and commercial HVAC, and holds a limited electrical license. Frank is also NATE certified.

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