When your air conditioner starts emitting weird or gross aromas, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning can lead to additional damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the cause of the odor, the culprit could be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a sign of a dangerous problem, such as a natural gas leak.
At Smyth Air Conditioning, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something peculiar coming from your air conditioner, chances are our team of skilled professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Lake Worth.
What does a certain smell wafting out of your cooling system mean? Here are some common air conditioner smells and what they might 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 inside of it. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a bad odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another potential cause of an odor of stinky feet could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other debris, it can result in substandard air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.
To correct this dilemma, 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 regularly to ensure good air quality and restrict the growth of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning equipment smells like rotten eggs, it might be the result 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 added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak is a situation that 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 allow gas to escape the area, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your air conditioner 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 stench that resembles mildew.
Another possible cause of the smell could be a clogged air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Regular air conditioning maintenance from Smyth Air Conditioning can help avoid both of these problems, 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 distressing scenarios is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.
If your air conditioner stinks like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One likely cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.
Another potential cause of the stink could be a plugged 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 accumulate inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that can stink like urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your AC smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical issue with the unit. Over time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the unit. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and cause a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.
If you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s essential to call a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioning smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a recognizable odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is incorporated into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.
As mentioned previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and requires 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 phone your gas company or emergency services right away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When your air conditioner smell like fish, this could be a sign of 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 strong odor that can be 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 trapped 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 check out and clean your cooling system. They will be able to identify 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 numerous reasons your air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. Another possible cause of the smell could 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 mechanic examine and clean your air conditioning. If the odor persists after the cleaning and exchanging 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, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.
If you are planning to upgrade, Smyth Air Conditioning can help find the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Lake Worth.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioner, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
An additional possible cause of the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.
If you suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, it's important to shut down 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 protect against injury or damage to your house.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Smyth Air Conditioning
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, call the cooling professionals at Smyth Air Conditioning. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles through the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Lake Worth!