When your air conditioner starts spewing odd or funky smells, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system could lead to serious damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you're smelling, the culprit might be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are even indicative of a dangerous problem, like a natural gas leak.

At Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something weird coming from your air conditioner, there's a good chance our team of qualified pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Thedford.

What does a specific odor billowing from your air conditioning mean? Here are some common air conditioner odors and what they could mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can create an environment that is beneficial to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause low air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To solve this issue, it's important to have an experienced specialist inspect and clean your air conditioning system, including the evaporator coil, drain pan and condensate drain line. It's also important to replace the air filter routinely to provide good air quality and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning unit reeks of rotten eggs, it may be the result of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive odor, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur, which is because of a substance added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak can be very dangerous and requires immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, immediately open windows and doors to ventilate the area, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner smells like mildew, it might be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside an air conditioner, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that bears a resemblance to mildew.

Another possible explanation for the smell may be a soiled air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning can help avoid both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system working at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable things is when your AC smells like urine.

If your air conditioning equipment smells like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One potential cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that is like urine.

Another feasible cause of the scent of urine could be a plugged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away properly, but if the drain line becomes choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical issue with the unit. Over time, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and cause a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s important to phone a professional right away.

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is put into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As stated earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and calls for immediate attention. Should you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, evacuate the building and phone your gas company or emergency services right away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

When your AC smell like fish, you may have a situation where there's a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that promotes the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a strong odor that can be described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.

Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck in the air conditioning system. This often can happen if an animal such as a mouse or bird is trapped inside the unit and dies.

To correct the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional check out and clean your HVAC system. They can find the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons your AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a plugged air filter. One other possible cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled specialist inspect and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor lingers after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to diagnose and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning can help locate the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer dependable, skilled air conditioner installation in Thedford.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning unit, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

One other possible source of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.

If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, it's important to turn off your air conditioning system immediately and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be dangerous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your home.

A Nasty Odor Coming from Your AC? Contact the Experts at Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, call the cooling specialists at Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles over the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Thedford!