When your air conditioner starts emitting strange or unappealing smells, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner can lead to further damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the cause of the odor, the cause may be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are a sign of a dangerous scenario, like a natural gas leak.
At North Mechanical Heating and 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 professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Payson.
What does a certain smell billowing from your cooling system mean? Here are some common air conditioner aromas and what they may 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 unit. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can create an environment that is favorable to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a foul odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.
Another possible explanation for the smell could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause 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 replace the air filter on a regular basis to promote good air quality and restrict the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning unit smells like rotten eggs, it could be caused by 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, which is because of a substance added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak can be 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, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your air conditioner smells like mildew, it may be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside an air conditioner, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that resembles mildew.
Another possible cause of the smell might be a dirty air filter. When 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 North Mechanical Heating and 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 situations is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.
If your air conditioning smells like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One likely cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that is like urine.
Another possible cause of the stink could be a blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away correctly, but if the drain line becomes stopped up by 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 unit 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 make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and cause a smell like burning plastic.
If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s worthwhile to phone 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 odor, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is incorporated into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.
As mentioned previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and needs 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 as soon as possible.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When 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 result in a smell like dirty feet.
Another potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped in the air conditioning system. This often can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird is trapped inside the unit and dies.
To fix the issue, it's important to have a professional examine 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 prevent the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be numerous reasons a home's air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a clogged air filter. A second potential cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled specialist inspect 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 diagnose and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are planning to upgrade, North Mechanical Heating and Cooling can help select the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Payson.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming 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 some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
Another possible source of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.
If you suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, it's important to turn off your air conditioning system immediately and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be harmful and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your house.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at North Mechanical Heating and Cooling
If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, call the cooling professionals at North Mechanical Heating and Cooling. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles through the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Payson!