When your air conditioner starts spewing unusual or gross 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 air conditioning may lead to further damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the smell, the cause may be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are even indicative of a dangerous problem, like a natural gas leak.
At Cooks Air Conditioning and Heating Specialists, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, chances are our team of skilled professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Palm Coast.
What does a certain smell wafting coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are several typical air conditioner aromas and what they might mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it may be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a foul odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another likely cause of the smell might be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.
To correct this issue, 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 routinely to provide good air quality and prevent the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning equipment reeks of rotten eggs, it could be because 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 a situation that 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 immediately.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it could be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside a cooling system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that it similar to mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell may 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.
Regular air conditioning maintenance from Cooks Air Conditioning and Heating Specialists can help avoid both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good 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 reeks of urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One possible cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that resembles urine.
Another feasible cause of the smell could be a clogged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away properly, but if the drain line becomes filled 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 unit smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical problem with the unit. Over time, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the unit. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can heat up 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 contact a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioner smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is put into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.
As mentioned before, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and calls for immediate attention. When you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, evacuate the building and contact your gas company or emergency services straight away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
If your air conditioner smell like fish, it could be due to 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 is sometimes described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can cause a smell like dirty feet.
Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught within 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 examine and clean your cooling system. They can determine the source of the smell and take the correct 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 might be a clogged air filter. A second potential cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled specialist examine and clean your air conditioning. If the odor persists after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to identify and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are looking to upgrade, Cooks Air Conditioning and Heating Specialists can help select the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Palm Coast.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning unit, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
Another possible reason for the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.
If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, it's important to shut down your air conditioning system immediately and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be harmful and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your house.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Cooks Air Conditioning and Heating Specialists
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, call the cooling professionals at Cooks Air Conditioning and Heating Specialists. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles through the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Palm Coast!