When your air conditioner starts putting out weird or gross 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 can 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 root of the problem could 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 a sign of an unsafe problem, including a natural gas leak.
At Scott Temperature, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, there's a good chance our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Lawrence.
What does a certain smell billowing coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are several common air conditioner smells and what they may mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a bad odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.
Another likely explanation for an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.
To correct this unpleasant situation, 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 exchange the air filter routinely to provide good air quality and restrict the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioner stinks like rotten eggs, it may 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, get everyone out of 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 could be due to a accumulation 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 smell that bears a resemblance to mildew.
Another possible reason for the smell might be a soiled air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.
Regular air conditioning maintenance from Scott Temperature can help prevent both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system working at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most unpleasant things is when your AC smells like urine.
If your air conditioning smells like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One likely cause is a collection 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 favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.
Another feasible cause of the scent of urine 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 clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that resembles urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical problem with the unit. Over time, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and result in a smell similar to burning plastic.
If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s essential 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 distinct odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is put into natural gas to make it easily detectable.
As mentioned previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and calls for 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 call your gas company or emergency services straight away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
If your air conditioner smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces an environment that promotes 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 possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped inside the air conditioning system. This often can happen if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.
To solve the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional examine and clean your cooling system. They can determine the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and stop 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 might be a plugged air filter. One other likely cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled specialist examine 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 hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are planning to upgrade, Scott Temperature can help locate the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer dependable, skilled air conditioner installation in Lawrence.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioner, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
One other possible source of the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that it similar to 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 prevent injury or damage to your home.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Scott Temperature
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, contact the cooling specialists at Scott Temperature. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning concerns through the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Lawrence!