When your air conditioner starts putting out odd or unappealing odors, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning may lead to additional damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the smell, the culprit might be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are even indicative of a harmful situation, including a natural gas leak.
At Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd coming from your AC, there's a good chance our team of qualified pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Bishop.
What does a particular smell billowing out of your air conditioning mean? Here are a few common air conditioner aromas and what they might mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it may be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can create an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a bad odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.
Another likely cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can cause low 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 professional 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 on a regular basis to promote good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your reeks of rotten eggs, it might be because 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 added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak 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, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your AC emits a smell like mildew, it might be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside an air conditioner, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Another possible reason for the smell might be a clogged air filter. When 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 Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning can help protect against 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 distressing things is when an air conditioner smells like urine.
If your air conditioner stinks like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One likely cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that is like urine.
Another possible cause of the smell 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 filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that can stink like 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. Over time, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and result in a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.
If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s important to phone a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioning smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinct aroma, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.
As mentioned previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous 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, get everyone out of the building and phone 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 can be 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 caught within the air conditioning system. This often is possible if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.
To solve the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional check out and clean your HVAC system. They should be able to find the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be multiple reasons a home's AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a plugged air filter. A second likely cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that resembles 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 changing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to diagnose and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are looking to upgrade, Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning can help find the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Bishop.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning unit, 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.
Another possible cause of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or components inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.
If you think your system has 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 avoid injury or damage to your home.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Bishop 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 Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Bishop!