When your air conditioner starts putting out weird or funky smells, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner may lead to additional damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on what you're smelling, the root of the problem might be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are a warning of a hazardous problem, including a natural gas leak.
At MPC Heating & Cooling, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something weird coming from your AC, there's a good chance our team of talented specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Chadron.
What does a certain smell billowing from your AC mean? Here are a few frequent air conditioner smells and what they could mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a bad odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.
Another potential cause of an odor of stinky feet could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.
To solve this dilemma, 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 routinely to promote good air quality and restrict the formation of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning unit reeks of rotten eggs, it may be the result 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 is added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak can be extraordinarily 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, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your AC emits a smell like mildew, it could be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside an air conditioner, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that resembles mildew.
Another possible cause of the smell might be a clogged 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 MPC Heating & Cooling 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 things is when your AC smells like urine.
If your air conditioning equipment stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One possible cause is a buildup 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 create a foul odor that resembles urine.
Another feasible cause of the smell could be a clogged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away effectively, but if the drain line becomes filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that can stink like urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your AC smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical issue with the unit. Over time, the electrical components 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 lodged in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.
If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s important to contact a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioning smells like gas, there could be 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 put into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.
As stated before, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and calls for 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 phone 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 creates an environment that promotes 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 create a smell like dirty feet.
Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught within the air conditioning system. This often can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.
To correct the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional examine and clean your cooling system. They will be able to determine the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be numerous reasons an air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a clogged air filter. One other likely cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can generate 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 lingers after the cleaning and changing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to identify and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, MPC Heating & Cooling can help locate the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Chadron.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. In a situation where 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 parts inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.
If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, it's important to shut 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 house.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at MPC Heating & Cooling
If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, call the cooling professionals at MPC Heating & Cooling. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Chadron!