When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or gross aromas, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system may lead to additional damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the cause of the odor, the cause could be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a warning of an unsafe situation, like a natural gas leak.

At Diedrick's Heating and Air Conditioning, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd 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 first call for air conditioning repair in Seymour.

What does a certain smell billowing from your air conditioning mean? Here are a few frequent air conditioner odors and what they might mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

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

Another likely reason for 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 cause poor air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To fix this unpleasant situation, 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 replace the air filter regularly to provide good air quality and restrict the development of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning unit smells like rotten eggs, it could 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, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

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

Another possible reason for the smell may be a clogged air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Diedrick's Heating and Air Conditioning can help prevent both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system working at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

One of the most unpleasant things is when your AC 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 buildup of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that it similar to urine.

Another feasible cause of the scent of urine could be a blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away properly, 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 is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning unit smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical issue with the unit. After a while, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and emit a smell similar to burning plastic.

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

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

As we said earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful 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 right away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

When 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 creates an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a foul odor that is sometimes described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can cause a smell like dirty feet.

Another possible 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 becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.

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

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

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

To fix the issue, it’s important to have a skilled tech look at and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor continues after the cleaning and replacing of 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, they can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Diedrick's Heating and Air Conditioning can help select the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Seymour.

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 is often described 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 resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you believe there is a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, it’s important to shut off your air conditioning system right away 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.

Weird Smells Coming from Your Cooling? Call the Pros at Diedrick's Heating and Air Conditioning

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, reach out to the cooling specialists at Diedrick's Heating and Air Conditioning. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning troubles through the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Seymour!