When your air conditioner starts spewing unusual or gross smells, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system can lead to additional damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on what you're smelling, the cause might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a sign of a harmful situation, such as a natural gas leak.
At Aggressive Mechanical, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd coming from your AC, you can bet that 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 Neptune City.
What does a specific odor coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are several common air conditioner aromas and what they might mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another potential explanation for the smell might be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.
To solve this problem, it's important to have a quality service tech 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 promote good air quality and protect against the growth of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your 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 distinct 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 a situation that is extraordinarily dangerous and requires immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, immediately open windows and doors to ventilate 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 emits a smell like mildew, it might be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside a cooling system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that bears a resemblance to mildew.
Another possible cause of the smell could 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.
Annual air conditioning maintenance from Aggressive Mechanical can help protect against 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 undesirable situations is when an air conditioner smells like urine.
If your air conditioner stinks like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One likely cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that it similar to 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 effectively, but if the drain line becomes filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect 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 unit smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical problem with the unit. After some time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible reason for 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 get hot 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 due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinctive aroma, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is put into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.
As we said previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and needs immediate attention. Should you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, leave the building and phone your gas company or emergency services right away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
Should your AC 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 promotes 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 caught within the air conditioning system. This often is possible if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.
To solve the issue, it's important to have a professional inspect and clean your cooling system. They can determine the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be multiple reasons a home's air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a dirty air filter. A second 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 essential to have a skilled mechanic inspect and clean your air conditioning. If the odor continues after the cleaning and exchanging 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, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are planning to upgrade, Aggressive Mechanical can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide reliable, professional air conditioner installation in Neptune City.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning unit, it could be the result of a refrigerant leak. In a situation where 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 result in a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.
If you believe there is a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, it's important to turn off your air conditioning system right away 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 Aggressive Mechanical
If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, contact the cooling experts at Aggressive Mechanical. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles through the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Neptune City!