When your air conditioner starts spewing strange or unappealing smells, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner may 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 root of the problem might be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a sign of a hazardous problem, like a natural gas leak.
At Stephen Hurst Pack Heating and Cooling, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something weird coming from your cooling system, chances are our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Circleville.
What does a specific odor billowing coming from your AC mean? Here are several frequent air conditioner odors and what they could mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it could be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is beneficial to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a bad odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.
Another likely explanation for the stench of dirty feet could be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.
To solve this unpleasant situation, 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 change the air filter on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and restrict the growth of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning equipment reeks of rotten eggs, it might 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 is 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, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your AC emits a smell like mildew, it might be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside a cooling system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that it similar to mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell may be a clogged air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Regular air conditioning maintenance from Stephen Hurst Pack Heating and Cooling can help prevent both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system operating at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most unpleasant situations is when your AC smells like urine.
If your air conditioning stinks like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One possible cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.
Another feasible cause of the scent of urine could be a clogged 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 generate a musty smell that can stink like urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can produce 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 stuck in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.
If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s essential to contact a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your AC smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinctive smell, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.
As we said before, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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, get everyone out of the building and contact your gas company or emergency services right away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When your air conditioner smell like fish, you may have a situation where there's a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture causes an environment that fosters the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a foul odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.
Another potential cause of 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 becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.
To solve the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional inspect and clean your HVAC system. They should be able to determine the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be multiple reasons an air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. Another potential cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled specialist inspect and clean your air conditioning. If the odor continues after the cleaning and changing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to find and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.
If you are planning to upgrade, Stephen Hurst Pack Heating and Cooling can help select the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Circleville.
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. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
An additional possible cause of the smell could be a problem with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that it similar to 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 as soon as possible and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be harmful and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your home.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Stephen Hurst Pack Heating and Cooling
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, contact the cooling experts at Stephen Hurst Pack Heating and Cooling. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Circleville!