When your air conditioner starts putting out weird or funky smells, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner can lead to further damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the cause of the odor, the culprit could be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a sign of an unsafe situation, including a natural gas leak.

At Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, you can bet that our team of skilled specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Alliance.

What does a certain smell billowing from your cooling system mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner smells and what they could mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.

Another possible explanation for the stench of dirty feet might be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other debris, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles 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 exchange the air filter routinely to promote good air quality and restrict the formation of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning equipment reeks of rotten eggs, it may 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, that is added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak can be 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.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your cooling system is giving off an odor like mildew, it might be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the air conditioning system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that it similar to mildew.

Another possible cause of the smell may be a soiled air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces can help protect against both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system operating at its best!

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable situations is when an air conditioner smells like urine.

If your air conditioner stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One potential 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 can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that it similar to urine.

Another possible cause of the stink 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 choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that resembles urine.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical concern with the unit. After a while, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the unit. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.

If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s essential to contact a professional right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a distinctive odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As we said earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and calls for 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 straight away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

If your AC smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces 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 potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck 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 solve the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional examine and clean your HVAC system. They can determine the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons a home's air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a dirty air filter. A second potential cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled specialist look at and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor persists after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to diagnose and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces can help find the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer reliable, expert air conditioner installation in Alliance.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioner, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

An additional possible reason for the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or components inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, it's important to turn off your air conditioning system as soon as possible and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be dangerous and may require immediate attention to avoid injury or damage to your house.

Strange Smell Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, contact the cooling experts at Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Alliance!