When your air conditioner starts spewing weird or funky odors, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning may lead to further damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the smell, the culprit may be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are even indicative of a dangerous scenario, including a natural gas leak.
At Olde Towne Heating & Air, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd coming from your cooling system, chances are our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Mount Pleasant.
What does a specific odor billowing out of your air conditioning mean? Here are several typical air conditioner odors and what they could mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it could be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is beneficial to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a bad odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another likely cause of an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other particles, it can cause low air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.
To fix this issue, 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 replace the air filter regularly to ensure good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning unit reeks of rotten eggs, it could 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 because of a substance 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 ventilate the area, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your air conditioner is giving off an odor like mildew, it may 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 stench that it similar to mildew.
Another possible reason for the smell could be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Regular air conditioning maintenance from Olde Towne Heating & Air can help protect against both of these problems, 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 your AC smells like urine.
If your air conditioning equipment smells like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One potential 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 damp 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 blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away effectively, but if the drain line becomes clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that resembles 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. After a while, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and result in a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.
If you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s essential to contact 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 recognizable odor, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is put into natural gas to make it easily detectable.
As stated before, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and requires immediate attention. When you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
Should your AC smell like fish, this could be a sign of 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 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 gets trapped inside the unit and dies.
To fix the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional inspect and clean your HVAC system. They will be able to identify 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 numerous reasons an air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a plugged air filter. One other potential cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled specialist examine and clean your air conditioning. If the odor lingers after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to find and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, Olde Towne Heating & Air can help locate the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Mount Pleasant.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioner, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
Another possible cause of the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.
If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, it's important to shut off your air conditioning system right away 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 Your AC? Call the Pros at Olde Towne Heating & Air
If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, reach out to the cooling professionals at Olde Towne Heating & Air. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns throughout the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Mount Pleasant!