May 22

Smoke Coming From Vents When AC Is On

image of smoke depicting air conditioner blowing smoke

The cooling system in your home is a crucial contributor to your family’s comfort. However, like any machine, it will display problems every once in a while. For instance, you may see your vents emitting smoke. If so, take a moment to determine if there is a smell that accompanies the smoke. This article discusses the causes and solutions of an air conditioner blowing smoke. With all AC unit issues, it’s best to talk to a reliable air conditioning technician to rule out severe or possibly dangerous issues.

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Air Conditioner Blowing Smoke: Causes & Solutions

This article discusses several reasons homeowners see smoke coming from their air vents when the air conditioner is running.

Related Article: How To Keep Your House Cool Naturally

AC Condensation Building Up In The Heater Box

Man Looking in an Air Vent

If white smoke is coming out of the vents of your air conditioner, it is highly likely that it isn’t actually smoke. There is a good chance it is just condensation, especially if the white fog isn’t accompanied by an odor. 

An air conditioner sucks and cools warm air, naturally resulting in condensation. The condensation may accumulate in the heater box, and it isn’t unusual for the moisture to evaporate and go out with the cooled air. This is why you see white smoke or fog from your air conditioner vents. The air conditioner may have a blocked drain line, causing excess water in the heater box.

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Related Article: 6 Common Household Products That Pollute Your Home’s Air

Air Conditioner Cold, Dry Air Hits Warm Air

White fog forms when cold air collides with warm air, especially if the warm air is high in humidity. This is likened to seeing your breath when you go out on a cold day. Condensation or water droplets form when warm, moist air comes in contact with cool, dry air. You can see it as white fog or smoke. 

An air conditioner not receiving proper airflow is a common cause of this issue. Try setting your air conditioner on high to cool your home faster and help minimize this issue. Make sure that your filters are cleaned or changed regularly as well. Annual air conditioner checkups from a licensed HVAC technician help ensure your air conditioner runs properly.

Related Article: Top 6 Benefits Of Getting An Annual Air Conditioner Tune-Up

Clogged Air Conditioner Drain Hole

clogged condensate drain for heat pump

Unlike older models, many newer AC models are not equipped with drain holes. The evaporator coils in air conditioners generate condensation as it cools the warm air. This moisture should be able to drain. This is where the condensate drain line comes in, letting the water escape outside. However, it may eventually become clogged, causing the condensation to back up into your cooling system. This can cause white vapor to come out of your air conditioning vents. Prevent drain line problems with regular air conditioner tune-ups.

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Failure Of An A/C Component

Air conditioners are a standard feature in most homes. However, this modern convenience is typically placed under a heavy burden to keep up with the cooling demands during the summer. This can put a toll on your air conditioner.

As time passes, the cooling system’s components will naturally fail because of age. If your air conditioner has a belt-driven fan, a failing fan belt can produce smoke. Another cause is a burnt-out fan motor.

Turn off your air conditioner immediately if the smoke from the vents has a foul odor. This smoke can be harmful. Contact a certified HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. There are times when the best course of action to take is to replace your aging air conditioner.

Related Article: Why Is HVAC Airflow So Important For My Home?

Overheating Air Conditioning Unit

image of an air conditioner repair by an hvac contractor

You may have a more serious problem than condensation if a strange odor accompanies the white smoke. Air conditioners are made of many electrical parts which can overheat, especially if the air conditioner does not have proper airflow. 

The issue can be due to blocked vents or a dirty filter. You must immediately switch off your air conditioner and call a trusted HVAC technician to prevent the problem from escalating. An HVAC professional can identify the overheating component(s), which likely need replacing before you can safely use your cooling system again.

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Air Conditioner Electrical Problems

Another cause for smoke coming out of the vents is a wiring issue. Cooling systems have many electrical connections and wires. If one becomes faulty, it can result in smoke with a foul odor.

Turn off your air conditioner immediately when it produces a strange smell. It is hazardous when your AC unit has an electrical issue. It may even lead to a fire if ignored. Hire a trained HVAC professional to assist you in resolving this problem.

Related Article: Air Balancing – 5 Easy Ways To Avoid Hot And Cold Spots In Your House

Does Your Air Conditioner Set Off The Smoke Alarm?

replacing batteries in smoke detector

It may be a little disconcerting when the smoke alarm goes off, but it is possible that it isn’t a smoke issue that is causing this. A power surge may be why your air conditioner is setting off the smoke alarm.  

Unplug your cooling system or pull the air conditioning circuit if this is happening. Call in an HVAC professional immediately after. The issue is probably because of your home’s electrical system or how the air conditioner was installed. 

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Is The White Smoke Coming From Your Air Conditioner Odorless?

Take action when you notice smoke coming from your air conditioner vents. First, assess if the smoke has no smell or emits a foul odor. If it is the former, it is likely caused by a condensation problem. However, do not neglect the issue because an air conditioner that isn’t draining properly can result in other issues.

On the other hand, white smoke with a bad smell is highly likely due to a failing component or an electrical issue. Either case warrants turning off the air conditioner and immediately contacting a trained HVAC professional. 

Related Article: Simple Tips For Pet Owners To Improve Their Indoor Air Quality

How To Avoid Smoke Issues With Your Air Conditioner

Homeowners can take some steps to help make sure their air conditioner runs properly. First, make sure your unit gets annual air conditioner maintenance. An HVAC professional will thoroughly inspect your system for signs of problems and repair them before they worsen. It is also essential to conduct simple tasks, like regularly replacing the air filter, as they significantly help prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

One problem a lot of homeowners overlook is the air conditioner size. A system that is too large or too small for your home will cause problems as time passes. Consult your trusted HVAC technician if this is an issue.

Make sure you are aware of any problems your cooling system may have. Contact a professional HVAC technician at the first sign of trouble, like white fog or smoke from the air conditioner vents. Some issues may not be as hazardous, but they can cause costlier AC repair bills down the road. Other air conditioner issues can be risky and must be resolved immediately. Have a trained HVAC technician assist you.

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Call Skylands Energy Service For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

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Skylands Energy Service offers high-quality heating and cooling services in Central New Jersey. Our company has the best professionally certified technicians who can provide you with exceptional HVAC repairs, replacements, tune-ups, and installations. Our knowledgeable and experienced techs can service your HVAC system correctly.

For highly affordable heating and cooling service prices in the region, don’t hesitate to call Skylands Energy Service. Our maintenance services help increase comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality while reducing your cooling bills. We can suggest the most fitting HVAC repair or replacement system within your budget if you need it. Schedule a service appointment with Skylands Energy today. All our work is guaranteed to ensure your satisfaction. Call us today for a free, in-home estimate.

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