When your air conditioner starts emitting strange or gross smells, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning could lead to additional damage to your AC 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. In other cases, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are even indicative of a hazardous problem, such as a natural gas leak.
At Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something weird coming from your cooling system, chances are our team of talented professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Kankakee.
What does a certain smell billowing coming from your cooling system mean? Here are some typical air conditioner aromas and what they could mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is beneficial to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another possible explanation for an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other particles, it can result in low air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.
To correct this issue, it's important to have a professional 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 regularly to promote good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning unit smells like rotten eggs, it may be caused by 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 added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak can be extremely 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, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your AC smells like mildew, it might be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside the air conditioning system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that resembles mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell could be a soiled air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.
Annual air conditioning maintenance from Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating can help avoid both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system operating at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most distressing things is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.
If your air conditioning reeks of urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One likely cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that is like urine.
Another feasible 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 choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that can stink like urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical problem with the unit. After a while, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the unit. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and result in a smell similar to burning plastic.
If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s worthwhile to call a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioner 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 odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is added to natural gas to make it easily detectable.
As we said earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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 call your gas company or emergency services right away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When 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 foul odor that can be 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 stuck 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 examine 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 prevent the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be multiple reasons an air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a plugged air filter. A second possible cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled specialist 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 persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating can help locate the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver dependable, skilled air conditioner installation in Kankakee.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
One other possible reason for the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.
If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, it's important to shut down your air conditioning system immediately and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be harmful and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your residence.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating
If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, contact the cooling professionals at Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns throughout the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Kankakee!