When your air conditioner starts spewing odd or gross aromas, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Ignoring 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. Other times, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are even indicative of an unsafe situation, such as a natural gas leak.
At McFadden Heating & Cooling, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something peculiar coming from your AC, you can bet that our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Dresden.
What does a specific odor wafting out of your air conditioning mean? Here are several 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 caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can create an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a bad odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another likely cause of an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other particles, it can result in substandard air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.
To fix 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 on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and prevent the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your smells like rotten eggs, it could 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, that is added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak is extremely dangerous and requires immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, immediately open windows and doors to air out 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 cooling system is giving off an odor like mildew, it might be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside a cooling system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Another possible reason for the smell might be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.
Routine air conditioning maintenance from McFadden Heating & Cooling can help protect against both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system working 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 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 moist environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce 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 choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and build up 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, a possible cause could be an electrical issue with the unit. Over time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and result in a smell like burning plastic.
If you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s worthwhile to call a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your AC smells like gas, it could be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a recognizable smell, 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 mentioned previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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 phone your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
Should your air conditioner smell like fish, it could be due to 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 can be described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can create a smell like dirty feet.
Another possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught inside 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 fix the issue, it's worthwhile 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 your air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a plugged air filter. One other likely cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled specialist inspect and clean your air conditioning. If the odor persists 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, McFadden Heating & Cooling can help locate the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Dresden.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning unit, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
Another possible reason for the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can cause 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 prevent injury or damage to your home.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at McFadden Heating & Cooling
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, reach out to the cooling specialists at McFadden Heating & Cooling. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning problems throughout the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Dresden!