When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or unappealing smells, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system could lead to further damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the cause of the odor, the cause may be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a warning of an unsafe situation, like a natural gas leak.
At Stanford Heating & Cooling, 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 specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Bloomfield.
What does a particular smell coming out of your AC mean? Here are several frequent air conditioner smells and what they may mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is beneficial to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.
Another possible reason for an odor of stinky feet might be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other particles, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.
To correct 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 exchange the air filter on a regular basis to promote good air quality and restrict the growth of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning unit stinks like rotten eggs, it could be because 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 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 collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms 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 reason for the smell may be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Regular air conditioning maintenance from Stanford Heating & Cooling can help avoid both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system working at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most distressing situations is when an air conditioner smells like urine.
If your air conditioner smells like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One possible cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that is like urine.
Another feasible cause of the smell could be a blocked 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 resembles urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your AC smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical concern 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 that somehow got in the unit. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and emit a smell like burning plastic.
If you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s worthwhile to phone a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioner smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a recognizable smell, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.
As we said previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful 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 contact your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, you may have a situation where there's a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces 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 result in a smell like dirty feet.
Another potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped within 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 often necessary to have a professional inspect and clean your air conditioning system. They can determine the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be numerous reasons a home's air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. A second possible cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled specialist look at and clean your air conditioning. If the odor lingers after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to find and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, Stanford Heating & Cooling can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Bloomfield.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. In a situation where 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 reason for the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.
If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, it's important to shut off your air conditioning system immediately and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be hazardous and may require immediate attention to avoid injury or damage to your house.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Stanford Heating & Cooling
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, contact the cooling specialists at Stanford Heating & Cooling. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning concerns through the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Bloomfield!