When your air conditioner starts emitting odd or funky aromas, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning may lead to serious damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the root of the problem 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 hazardous situation, like a natural gas leak.

At GV Heating & Air, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, there’s a good chance our team of skilled pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Crystal and Twin Cities.

What does a particular smell coming from your AC mean? Here are some common air conditioner odors and what they may mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it may be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.

Another potential reason 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 cause substandard air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To correct 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 exchange the air filter routinely to ensure good air quality and protect against the formation of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, it may be due to 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 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 ventilate the area, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.

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 collects inside an air conditioner, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that resembles mildew.

Another possible cause of the smell might be a soiled air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from GV Heating & Air can help prevent both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system operating at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable situations is when your AC smells like urine.

If your air conditioning stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One possible cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that resembles urine.

Another feasible cause of the stink could be a clogged 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 can stink like urine.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning unit smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical concern 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 cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and cause a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s essential to contact a professional right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a distinct aroma, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is added to natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

As stated before, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and needs 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 contact your gas company or emergency services right away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

When your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, this could be a sign of 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 disgusting odor that is sometimes described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can cause a smell like dirty feet.

Another potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped in the air conditioning system. This often can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.

To solve the issue, it’s often necessary to have a professional examine and clean your HVAC system. They will be able to determine the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons a home’s air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a clogged air filter. Another likely cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s important to have a skilled tech look at and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor lingers 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, they can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, GV Heating & Air can help select the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide reliable, skilled air conditioner installation in Crystal and Twin Cities.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming 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 aroma that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

One other possible source of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that resembles 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 protect against injury or damage to your home.

Strange Smell Coming from Your Cooling? Call the Pros at GV Heating & Air

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, contact the cooling experts at GV Heating & Air. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles over the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Crystal and Twin Cities!