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 air conditioner may lead to further damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you're smelling, the culprit may be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are even indicative of a dangerous problem, such as a natural gas leak.

At Aggressive Mechanical, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something weird coming from your air conditioner, you can bet that our team of talented pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Neptune City.

What does a certain smell wafting from your cooling system mean? Here are several common 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 establish an environment that is favorable to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another likely cause of the stench of dirty feet might be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To solve this issue, 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 change the air filter routinely to provide good air quality and restrict the formation of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your smells like rotten eggs, it might be caused by a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a unique 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, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

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

Another possible reason for the smell may be a clogged air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from Aggressive Mechanical can help avoid 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!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

One of the most distressing scenarios is when an air conditioner smells like urine.

If your air conditioning equipment stinks 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 if 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 potential 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 collect 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 conditioner smells like burning plastic, this could indicate 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 the air conditioner. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and emit a smell like burning plastic.

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

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, it could be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive odor, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is added to natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful 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, get everyone out of the building and phone your gas company or emergency services straight away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

When your air conditioner smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that is conducive to 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 cause 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 is trapped inside the unit and dies.

To fix the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional examine and clean your HVAC system. They will be able to find the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons a home's AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a plugged air filter. One other likely cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled specialist examine and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor continues after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to identify and repair any persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, Aggressive Mechanical can help select the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Neptune City.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioner, it could be the result of a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

One other possible reason for the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or hardware 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 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 harmful and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your residence.

A Nasty Odor Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Aggressive Mechanical

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, call the cooling experts at Aggressive Mechanical. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns through the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Neptune City!