When your air conditioner starts putting out strange or funky odors, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system can lead to serious damage to your AC 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. On the other hand, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are even indicative of a harmful situation, such as a natural gas leak.
At Anderson Heating & A/C, 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 pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Carson City.
What does a particular smell coming from your AC mean? Here are some frequent air conditioner odors and what they may mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it could be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.
Another possible explanation for the stench of dirty feet could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other debris, it can lead to low air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.
To correct this problem, it's important to have a professional 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 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 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 recognizable 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 immediately.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your air conditioner is giving off an odor like mildew, it could be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside a cooling system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that resembles mildew.
Another possible reason for the smell may be a soiled air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Annual air conditioning maintenance from Anderson Heating & A/C can help protect against both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system running at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most undesirable things is when your AC 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 accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen in the event that 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 potential cause of the smell 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 collect inside the unit. This can produce 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. Over time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, 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 trapped in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and cause a smell like burning plastic.
If you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s important 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 your home. Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is put into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.
As we said previously, 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, leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services straight away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When your AC 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 disgusting odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can create 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 gets trapped inside the unit and dies.
To fix the issue, it's important to have a professional examine and clean your HVAC system. They should be able to identify the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be several reasons an air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a dirty air filter. A second likely 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 tech examine and clean your air conditioning. If the odor continues after the cleaning and replacing 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, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, Anderson Heating & A/C can help find the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Carson City.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be the result of a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
An additional possible source of the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or components 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 problem, it's important to shut off your air conditioning system as soon as possible and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be dangerous and may require immediate attention to avoid injury or damage to your house.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Anderson Heating & A/C
If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, contact the cooling professionals at Anderson Heating & A/C. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles over the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Carson City!