When your air conditioner starts putting out strange or funky odors, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system may lead to serious 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 AC. Some smells are a warning of an unsafe problem, including a natural gas leak.
At Northern Comfort Inc, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something weird coming from your air conditioner, there's a good chance our team of skilled professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Mankato area.
What does a particular smell billowing out of your air conditioning mean? Here are several common air conditioner smells 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 inside of it. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is beneficial to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.
Another possible explanation for the smell might be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can result in substandard air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.
To solve 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 routinely to provide good air quality and prevent the formation of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning unit smells like rotten eggs, it might be caused by 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 extremely dangerous and requires immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, immediately open windows and doors to air out the area, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it might be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside the air conditioning system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that it similar to mildew.
Another possible reason for the smell might be a dirty air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Routine air conditioning maintenance from Northern Comfort Inc can help avoid both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system working at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most unpleasant scenarios is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.
If your air conditioner smells like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One likely cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that resembles urine.
Another potential cause of the smell 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 stopped up by debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that resembles 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 components in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the unit. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and cause a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.
If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s worthwhile to contact a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your AC smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive aroma, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is added to natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.
As we said earlier, 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 call your gas company or emergency services right away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
If 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 strong odor that is sometimes described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.
Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught within 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 check out and clean your air conditioning system. They will be able to find the source of the smell and take the appropriate 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 conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a dirty air filter. A second likely cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled specialist 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 find and repair any persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, Northern Comfort Inc can help locate the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide dependable, skilled air conditioner installation in Mankato area.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning equipment, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. When 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 reason for the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that resembles 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 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 avoid injury or damage to your residence.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Northern Comfort Inc
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, contact the cooling professionals at Northern Comfort Inc. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles through the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Mankato area!