When your air conditioner starts spewing unusual or funky smells, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner may lead to further damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the smell, the cause may 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 situation, such as a natural gas leak.
At Freed Heating & Air Conditioning, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something peculiar coming from your AC, chances are our team of skilled professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Moline.
What does a specific odor billowing out of your cooling system mean? Here are a few frequent air conditioner odors and what they may mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it could be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a bad odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.
Another likely reason for an odor of stinky feet could be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause substandard air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.
To correct this unpleasant situation, 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 change the air filter on a regular basis to provide good air quality and restrict the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your stinks like rotten eggs, it might be the result of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive 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 a situation that 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 at once.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your air conditioner smells like mildew, it could be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside a cooling system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that it similar to mildew.
Another possible reason for the smell may 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.
Regular air conditioning maintenance from Freed Heating & Air Conditioning can help prevent 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 an air conditioner smells like urine.
If your air conditioning equipment smells like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One possible cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.
Another potential cause of the stink could be a clogged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away correctly, but if the drain line becomes choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can produce 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, this could indicate 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 cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and emit a smell like burning plastic.
If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s essential to call a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioner smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a distinctive smell, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is added to natural gas so that it is easily detectable.
As mentioned before, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous and requires immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, get everyone out of the building and phone your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
If your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, this could be a sign of 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 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 trapped inside the air conditioning system. This often can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.
To solve the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional check out and clean your HVAC system. They will be able to identify 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 your air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. Another potential cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled specialist look at and clean your air conditioning. If the odor persists after the cleaning and exchanging the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to diagnose 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 looking to upgrade, Freed Heating & Air Conditioning can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Moline.
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. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
One other possible reason for the smell could be a problem with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can cause 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 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 avoid injury or damage to your residence.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Freed Heating & Air Conditioning
If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, call the cooling professionals at Freed Heating & Air Conditioning. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning problems through the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Moline!