When your air conditioner starts putting out odd or funky smells, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system could lead to additional 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. Other times, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are even indicative of a dangerous situation, such as a natural gas leak.
At Stieferman Heating Company Inc, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something peculiar coming from your AC, you can bet that our team of talented specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Jefferson City.
What does a specific odor billowing from your air conditioning mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner aromas and what they might mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it could be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can create an environment that is favorable to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a foul odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another possible cause of an odor of stinky feet could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.
To solve this problem, 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 change the air filter regularly to ensure good air quality and restrict the formation of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your stinks like rotten eggs, it could be due to 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, 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, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your AC smells like mildew, it may be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the air conditioning system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that bears a resemblance to mildew.
Another possible cause of the smell may be a clogged air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Annual air conditioning maintenance from Stieferman Heating Company Inc can help protect against both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system running at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most undesirable things is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.
If your air conditioning equipment stinks like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One possible cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that is like urine.
Another potential cause of the stink 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 clogged 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 conditioner smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical issue with the unit. After some time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can create 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 stuck in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.
If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s worthwhile to call a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioner smells like gas, it could be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive aroma, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is incorporated into natural gas to make it easily detectable.
As stated before, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous and requires immediate attention. When 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 contact your gas company or emergency services straight away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
Should your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, you may have a situation where there's a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture causes an environment that promotes 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 create a smell like dirty feet.
Another potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck in 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 fix the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional check out and clean your cooling system. They should be able to identify the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be several reasons an air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a dirty air filter. Another potential cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled mechanic look at and clean your air conditioning. If the odor lingers after the cleaning and exchanging the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to identify and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.
If you are looking to upgrade, Stieferman Heating Company Inc can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer reliable, skilled air conditioner installation in Jefferson City.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning equipment, 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.
Another possible source of the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that is like 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 right away and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be hazardous and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your home.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Stieferman Heating Company Inc
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, call the cooling professionals at Stieferman Heating Company Inc. We have years 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 Jefferson City!