When your air conditioner starts spewing odd or gross smells, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system can lead to serious damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the cause of the odor, the culprit might be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are even indicative of a hazardous situation, such as a natural gas leak.
At HCE Systems, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your cooling system, you can bet that our team of qualified pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Norton.
What does a specific odor billowing 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 due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is beneficial to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another possible explanation for the stench of dirty feet could be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in substandard air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.
To correct this problem, 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 prevent the formation of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning equipment 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 distinctive 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, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it may be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside a cooling system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that it similar to mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell might 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 HCE Systems can help prevent both of these issues, 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 scenarios is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.
If your air conditioning stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One potential cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that is like urine.
Another feasible cause of the scent of urine could be a plugged 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 can stink like urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your air conditioning unit smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical concern with the unit. After some time, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.
If you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s essential to phone a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioner smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a recognizable smell, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is incorporated into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.
As stated previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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 contact your gas company or emergency services right away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When your AC smell like fish, you may have a situation where there's a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that promotes the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a disgusting odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can create 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 take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.
To correct the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional examine and clean your air conditioning system. They can find 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 several reasons an air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a plugged air filter. Another possible cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled tech look at 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 diagnose and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.
If you are looking to upgrade, HCE Systems can help find the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Norton.
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. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
Another possible source of the smell could be a problem with the electrical wiring or elements 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 concern, it's important to shut down 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 prevent injury or damage to your residence.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at HCE Systems
If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, reach out to the cooling experts at HCE Systems. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning problems throughout the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Norton!