When your air conditioner starts putting out strange or funky aromas, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning can lead to serious damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on what you're smelling, the culprit might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are a warning of a hazardous scenario, like a natural gas leak.
At GV Heating & Air, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, chances are our team of talented 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 coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are a few frequent air conditioner smells and what they may mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it could be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can create an environment that is beneficial to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a bad odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another potential cause of the smell may be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other particles, it can lead to low air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.
To fix this dilemma, 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 regularly to ensure good air quality and restrict the formation of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning equipment smells like rotten eggs, it could be caused by 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 added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak 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 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 smells like mildew, it could 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 odor that it similar to mildew.
Another possible reason for the smell may be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.
Routine air conditioning maintenance from GV Heating & Air can help prevent both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system working at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most unpleasant situations is when your AC smells like urine.
If your air conditioning equipment reeks of urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. 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 moist environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that is like urine.
Another possible cause of the smell could be a plugged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away correctly, but if the drain line becomes clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and build up 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 conditioning system smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical problem with the unit. Over time, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, 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 stuck in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and result in a smell like burning plastic.
If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s worthwhile to contact 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 another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is put into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.
As mentioned before, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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 as soon as possible.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When your air conditioner smell like fish, this could be a sign of 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 is sometimes 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 within the air conditioning system. This often is possible if an animal such as a mouse or bird is trapped inside the unit and dies.
To correct the issue, it's important to have a professional check out and clean your HVAC system. They should be able to 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 numerous reasons an AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a clogged air filter. A second potential cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled mechanic look at 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, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are planning to upgrade, GV Heating & Air can help find the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver reliable, skilled air conditioner installation in Crystal and Twin Cities.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning unit, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
One other possible cause 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 turn off your air conditioning system right away and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be dangerous and may require immediate attention to avoid injury or damage to your residence.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at GV Heating & Air
If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, contact the cooling experts at GV Heating & Air. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning problems over the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Crystal and Twin Cities!