When your air conditioner starts putting out weird or gross smells, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner could lead to serious damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the culprit could be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are even indicative of a dangerous scenario, including a natural gas leak.

At Edington Heating & Cooling Inc, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something peculiar coming from your air conditioner, you can bet that our team of talented specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Troy.

What does a specific odor coming from your cooling system mean? Here are some common air conditioner aromas and what they might mean:

The Air Conditioning 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 builds inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another likely explanation for the smell might be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can lead to 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 change the air filter on a regular basis to provide good air quality and restrict the growth of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your stinks like rotten eggs, it could be due to 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 added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak is a situation that is extraordinarily 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 immediately.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your cooling system is giving off an odor like mildew, it might be due to a buildup 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 smell that it similar to mildew.

Another possible explanation for the smell could be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Edington Heating & Cooling Inc can help protect against both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system operating at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

One of the most distressing things is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.

If your air conditioning equipment reeks of urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. 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 scent of urine could be a plugged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away effectively, but if the drain line becomes stopped up by debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that can stink like urine.

The Air Conditioning 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 a while, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can produce 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 caught in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and emit a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s important to phone 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 smell, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is put into natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As stated before, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous and needs 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 call your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should your air conditioning equipment 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 foul odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can create a smell like dirty feet.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped within the air conditioning system. This often can happen if an animal such as a mouse or bird is trapped inside the unit and dies.

To correct the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional examine and clean your cooling system. They should be able to identify the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

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

To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled tech 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 persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, Edington Heating & Cooling Inc can help locate the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver reliable, skilled air conditioner installation in Troy.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioner, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. In a situation where 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 an issue with the electrical wiring or hardware 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 concern, it's important to shut down your air conditioning system as soon as possible 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 residence.

Weird Smells Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at Edington Heating & Cooling Inc

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, call the cooling experts at Edington Heating & Cooling Inc. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Troy!