When your air conditioner starts emitting 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 conditioner can lead to serious damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the cause might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are even indicative of an unsafe scenario, such as a natural gas leak.

At Mayeuxs AC & Heating, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd coming from your cooling system, there's a good chance our team of talented pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Norco and St. Charles Parish.

What does a certain smell coming out of your cooling system mean? Here are some typical air conditioner aromas and what they might mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a foul odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.

Another potential explanation for the smell could be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other particles, it can lead to poor 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 promote good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, it might be due to 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 because of a substance added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak 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 allow gas to escape the area, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it could be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside an air conditioner, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that bears a resemblance to mildew.

Another possible cause of the smell might be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Mayeuxs AC & Heating can help avoid 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 the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.

If your air conditioner reeks of urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One potential cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen when 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 smell could be a plugged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away effectively, but if the drain line becomes stopped up by debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical issue 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 reason for the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can heat up 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 important 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 odor, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is put into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous and requires immediate attention. Should you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, evacuate the building and phone your gas company or emergency services straight away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Fish

If your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, you may have a situation where there's a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a strong odor that can be described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.

Another plausible explanation for 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 becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.

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

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons your air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. A second possible cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled tech inspect 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 diagnose and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, Mayeuxs AC & Heating can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide dependable, 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 conditioner, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

One other possible cause of the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.

If you believe there is a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, it's important to shut off your air conditioning system immediately 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 house.

Strange Smell Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at Mayeuxs AC & Heating

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, reach out to the cooling specialists at Mayeuxs AC & Heating. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning troubles over the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Norco and St. Charles Parish!