If your air conditioning unit has stopped working well and you smell a burnt odor in the house when the unit is running, you want to shut off the AC and call an HVAC professional right away. You don't want to put the house or the unit at risk, and it's important to find out what's going on right away.

The first step is an inspection, then you will have to decide if you want to repair the unit or replace it. Here are some of the things to expect.


There are many things that can happen inside the air conditioning unit over time. Complications that could be causing the cooling concerns could be pest infestation, vegetation overgrowth, rusted or faulty components, refrigerant leaks, or electrical concerns. In the initial inspection, the AC maintenance professional should be able to pinpoint the concern and main problem with the unit.

Repair or Replace

The AC service professional will give you a breakdown of the repairs needed. This should include the costs for your parts and the service. Talk about the warranty on the parts and the service, and the current life expectancy of your furnace. If your current unit isn't nearly as efficient as what a newer model could provide, and the costs to repair it are high, it may be worth replacing the unit. 

Unit Cleaning and Tune-Up

The air conditioner may need a tune-up after the repairs are done. This means using an air tool to blow out the inside chambers, clean the mechanical components, and remove any dirt or debris. Cleaning the condenser coils can help to improve energy efficiency, and the blower motor and blower belt should be tested. This way your unit is ready to function at its best after the repair. The HVAC and AC repair team may also want to look at the ducts throughout the house to see if this is a problem. You may not be getting cold air or have other issues because of concerns with the ducts. These may need to be repaired to improve efficiency and function.

Any time you smell a burnt or smoky odor, you need to shut the unit off and call for professional help. You want to get to the bottom of your AC problem before you are in danger, and to see what repairs are needed fast.

Contact a local AC maintenance service to learn more.