When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or gross odors, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner could lead to serious damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the culprit could be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are a warning of a hazardous situation, like a natural gas leak.

At Northwest Services, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something weird coming from your air conditioner, there’s a good chance our team of skilled specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Swanton.

What does a specific odor wafting from your AC mean? Here are some typical air conditioner smells and what they might mean:

The Air Conditioning 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 builds inside the unit, it can create an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a bad odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.

Another possible cause of the smell may be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system’s air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other particles, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles 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 on a regular basis to provide good air quality and prevent the development of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning unit smells like rotten eggs, it might be due to 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, which 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 ventilate the area, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.

Your AC 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 a cooling system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that resembles mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell could 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.

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Northwest Services can help prevent both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system running at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioning equipment smells like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One potential cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning 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 resembles 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 correctly, 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 is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical issue with the unit. After some time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and emit a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you smell burning plastic coming from your cooling system, 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 the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is added to natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As we said before, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous and needs 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 phone your gas company or emergency services straight away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

If your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that promotes the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a disgusting odor that can be described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can create a smell like dirty feet.

Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped inside the air conditioning system. This often can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.

To correct the issue, it’s important to have a professional inspect and clean your HVAC system. They can find the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons an air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a plugged 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 similar to vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s important to have a skilled specialist 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 find and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, Northwest Services can help locate the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Swanton.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

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

One other possible source of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.

If you believe there is 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 prevent injury or damage to your home.

A Nasty Odor Coming from Your AC? Contact the Experts at Northwest Services

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, contact the cooling professionals at Northwest Services. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Swanton!