When your air conditioner starts spewing odd or gross odors, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner can 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 could be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a sign of a dangerous problem, including a natural gas leak.
At Mayeuxs AC & Heating, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something weird coming from your AC, there's a good chance our team of skilled specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Norco and St. Charles Parish.
What does a specific odor billowing out of your cooling system mean? Here are some common air conditioner odors and what they could mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is conducive to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a foul odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.
Another potential cause of the stench of dirty feet may be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.
To solve this unpleasant situation, 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 replace the air filter on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and prevent the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, it may be the result of 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 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 air out the area, evacuate 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 accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside the air conditioning system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that resembles mildew.
Another possible reason for the smell might be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.
Regular air conditioning maintenance from Mayeuxs AC & Heating can help protect against both of these situations, 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 distressing situations is when an air conditioner smells like urine.
If your air conditioning equipment stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One likely cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.
Another feasible 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 filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that resembles urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical problem with the unit. After some time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and emit a smell like burning plastic.
If you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s essential to call 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 distinctive aroma, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is incorporated into natural gas to make it easily detectable.
As mentioned previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and calls for immediate attention. When 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 straight away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
If your AC smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces an environment that fosters 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 cause a smell like dirty feet.
Another possible 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 is trapped inside the unit and dies.
To solve the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional check out and clean your air conditioning system. They should be able to find the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be multiple reasons an AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. Another likely cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled tech inspect and clean your air conditioning. If the odor continues after the cleaning and changing of 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 tech can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are looking to upgrade, Mayeuxs AC & Heating can help find the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer reliable, professional air conditioner installation in Norco and St. Charles Parish.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning unit, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. When 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 reason for the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that is like 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 as soon as possible and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be dangerous and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your residence.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Mayeuxs AC & Heating
If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, reach out to the cooling professionals at Mayeuxs AC & Heating. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning problems throughout the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Norco and St. Charles Parish!