When your air conditioner starts putting out odd or funky aromas, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning could lead to further damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the cause of the odor, the cause may be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a warning of a harmful scenario, like a natural gas leak.
At Central Air LLC, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd coming from your AC, there's a good chance our team of qualified specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Brookfield.
What does a specific odor wafting from your air conditioning mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner odors and what they may mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is beneficial to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.
Another likely cause of an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause low 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 on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and restrict the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioner 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 unique 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 a situation that is very 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, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your AC is giving off an odor like mildew, it could be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside an air conditioner, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that it similar to mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell might be a soiled air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Regular air conditioning maintenance from Central Air LLC can help prevent both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system working at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most undesirable scenarios is when an air conditioner 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 is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that is like urine.
Another possible cause of the stink could be a blocked 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 accumulate inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that resembles urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your AC smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the unit. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and cause a smell like burning plastic.
If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s important to call a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioning smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinct smell, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is incorporated into natural gas to make it easily detectable.
As mentioned before, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful 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, leave the building and contact your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
If your air conditioner 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 fosters the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a strong odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can cause a smell like dirty feet.
Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped inside the air conditioning system. This often can take place 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 air conditioning system. They should be able to 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 several reasons an air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a clogged air filter. A second possible cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled specialist examine and clean your air conditioning. If the odor persists after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to identify and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, Central Air LLC can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, expert air conditioner installation in Brookfield.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning unit, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
An additional possible source of the smell could be a problem with the electrical wiring or parts 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 as soon as possible 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 residence.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Central Air LLC
If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, contact the cooling professionals at Central Air LLC. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning problems over the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Brookfield!