When your air conditioner starts emitting unusual or unappealing smells, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner may lead to serious damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the cause of the odor, the cause might be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a warning of a harmful problem, including a natural gas leak.
At Wallpe Heating & Cooling, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your cooling system, you can bet that our team of skilled pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Greensburg.
What does a certain smell coming out of your AC mean? Here are some frequent air conditioner odors and what they may mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can create an environment that is favorable to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.
Another likely explanation for an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in low air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.
To solve this problem, 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 exchange the air filter routinely to provide good air quality and prevent the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning equipment stinks 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 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, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your AC emits a smell like mildew, it might be due to a buildup 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 bears a resemblance to mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell might be a clogged 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.
Routine air conditioning maintenance from Wallpe Heating & Cooling can help prevent both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system operating at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most undesirable situations is when your AC smells like urine.
If your air conditioning stinks like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One possible cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that is like urine.
Another possible cause of the smell could be a clogged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away properly, but if the drain line becomes filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical concern with the unit. After some time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can produce 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 trapped in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and result in a smell like burning plastic.
If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s important to call a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioner smells like gas, it could be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a recognizable odor, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is put into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.
As stated previously, 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 as soon as possible.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
If your air conditioner smell like fish, it could be due to 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 cause a smell like dirty feet.
Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck inside 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 correct the issue, it's important to have a professional check out and clean your air conditioning system. They should be able to identify the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be multiple reasons an air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a plugged air filter. One other possible cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled mechanic examine 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 identify and repair any persistent 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, Wallpe Heating & Cooling can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Greensburg.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be the result of a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
Another possible source of the smell could be problems 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 immediately and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be dangerous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your house.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Wallpe Heating & Cooling
If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, call the cooling professionals at Wallpe Heating & Cooling. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles through the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Greensburg!