When your air conditioner starts putting out weird or gross aromas, 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 can lead to serious damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the cause of the odor, the root of the problem might be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a warning of an unsafe problem, including a natural gas leak.

At Fletcher Plumbing, Heating & AC, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your cooling system, you can bet that our team of skilled professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Smyrna.

What does a specific odor billowing coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are some 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 because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture collects 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 stinky feet.

Another likely cause of the smell may be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system’s air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To fix this dilemma, 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 exchange the air filter regularly to ensure good air quality and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, it may be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a unique odor, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur, that is added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak is a situation that is very 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, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your AC is giving off an odor like mildew, it might 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 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 is similar to mildew.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Fletcher Plumbing, Heating & AC can help prevent both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system running at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

One of the most distressing situations is when your AC smells like urine.

If your air conditioning smells like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One potential cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that is like urine.

Another potential 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 properly, 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 is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical issue with the unit. Over time, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the unit. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and result in a smell similar to burning plastic.

If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s essential to call a professional right away.

The Air Conditioning 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 recognizable aroma, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is added to natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As stated 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 phone your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should your air conditioner smell like fish, you may have a situation where there’s a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a disgusting odor that is sometimes described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can create a smell like dirty feet.

Another potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught in 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 solve the issue, it’s important to have a professional check out and clean your cooling system. They should be able to determine the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons a home’s air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. One other possible cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s important to have a skilled mechanic look at 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, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, Fletcher Plumbing, Heating & AC can help select the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Smyrna.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioner, it could be the result of a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

An additional possible cause of the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or elements 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 problem, it’s important to turn off your air conditioning system right away 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.

Weird Smells Coming from Your AC? Contact the Experts at Fletcher Plumbing, Heating & AC

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, contact the cooling experts at Fletcher Plumbing, Heating & AC. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning concerns over the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Smyrna!