When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or funky smells, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning may lead to additional damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the cause of the odor, the root of the problem might be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are even indicative of a harmful scenario, such as a natural gas leak.

At Stanford Heating & Cooling, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something peculiar coming from your air conditioner, chances are our team of skilled pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Bloomfield.

What does a certain smell coming coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are several frequent air conditioner aromas and what they may mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might 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 beneficial to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a foul odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another likely reason for an odor of stinky feet could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause substandard air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To solve this unpleasant situation, it's important to have an experienced specialist 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 routinely to provide good air quality and restrict the growth of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your reeks of rotten eggs, it might 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 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.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your AC is giving off an odor like mildew, it might be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside a cooling system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that it similar to mildew.

Another possible cause of the smell may be a soiled air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from Stanford Heating & Cooling can help prevent both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system operating at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

One of the most unpleasant scenarios is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.

If your air conditioner smells like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One potential cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that is like urine.

Another possible 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 clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate 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 issue with the unit. After some 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 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 get hot and cause a smell like burning plastic.

If you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s worthwhile to phone a professional right away.

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is added to natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

As stated before, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and requires immediate attention. If 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 phone 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 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 stuck 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 check out and clean your HVAC system. They can determine the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons a home's air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a plugged air filter. Another possible cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled tech look at and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor lingers 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, Stanford Heating & Cooling can help select the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Bloomfield.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning unit, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that some people describe 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 elements inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that is like 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 residence.

A Nasty Odor Coming from Your Cooling? Contact the Experts at Stanford Heating & Cooling

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, contact the cooling specialists at Stanford Heating & Cooling. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning concerns throughout the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Bloomfield!