When your air conditioner starts spewing unusual or gross odors, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner can lead to further damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the smell, the cause might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a sign of a dangerous scenario, including 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 cooling system, you can bet that our team of skilled pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Thedford.
What does a specific odor coming from your AC mean? Here are several common air conditioner aromas and what they could mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can create an environment that is beneficial to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a bad odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.
Another potential reason for the stench of dirty feet might be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can lead to low air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.
To solve this problem, it's important to have a quality service tech inspect and clean your air conditioning system, including the evaporator coil, drain pan and condensate drain line. It's also important to exchange the air filter regularly to provide good air quality and prevent the formation of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning unit stinks like rotten eggs, it might be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a recognizable odor, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur, that is added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak can be extraordinarily dangerous and requires immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, immediately open windows and doors to allow gas to escape the area, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your cooling system is giving off an odor like mildew, it may be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the air conditioning system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell could be a soiled air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.
Annual air conditioning maintenance from Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning can help protect against both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system running at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most distressing things is when an air conditioner smells like urine.
If your air conditioner reeks of urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One potential cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that it similar to urine.
Another feasible cause of the stink could be a blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away correctly, but if the drain line becomes clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical problem with the unit. After some time, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and emit a smell like burning plastic.
If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s essential to phone a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioning smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is added to natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.
As stated earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and requires 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 straight away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
If your AC smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture causes an environment that promotes the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a foul 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 is possible if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.
To correct the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional check out and clean your HVAC system. They will be able to identify the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be numerous reasons an air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a clogged air filter. A second likely cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled tech 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 persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.
If you are looking to upgrade, Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning can help select the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver dependable, professional air conditioner installation in Thedford.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning unit, it could be caused by 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.
An additional possible source of the smell could be a problem with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.
If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, it's important to shut down your air conditioning system right away 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.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning
If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, call the cooling experts at Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Thedford!