When your air conditioner starts emitting strange or funky aromas, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning could lead to serious damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you're smelling, the cause may be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a sign of a harmful problem, like a natural gas leak.

At Wallpe Heating & Cooling, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something peculiar coming from your AC, you can bet that our team of qualified specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Greensburg.

What does a certain smell coming coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are some frequent air conditioner smells and what they may mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another potential cause of the stench of dirty feet might be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other particles, it can cause low air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To solve 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 routinely to promote good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your reeks of 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 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 allow gas to escape the area, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner smells like mildew, it might be due to a buildup 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 bears a resemblance to mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Wallpe Heating & Cooling can help avoid both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system operating at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

One of the most distressing scenarios is when an air conditioner smells like urine.

If your air conditioner stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One possible cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.

Another possible cause of the stink 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 choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC 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 create a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.

If you smell burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s worthwhile to contact a professional right away.

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. 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 we said before, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous 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 contact your gas company or emergency services straight away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should your AC smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates 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 caught 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 important to have a professional inspect and clean your air conditioning system. They should be able to find the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons an AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a plugged air filter. One other potential cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled mechanic examine 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 hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Wallpe Heating & Cooling can help select the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Greensburg.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning unit, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

Another possible reason for the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or components 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 immediately and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be hazardous and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your house.

A Nasty Odor Coming from Your Cooling? Contact the Experts at Wallpe Heating & Cooling

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, contact the cooling experts at Wallpe Heating & Cooling. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning concerns over the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Greensburg!