When your air conditioner starts spewing weird or funky odors, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system may lead to serious damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on what you're smelling, the root of the problem may be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a sign of a harmful problem, like a natural gas leak.
At Gilray Heating and Cooling, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd coming from your AC, you can bet that our team of skilled specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Wausau.
What does a certain smell billowing from your air conditioning mean? Here are some typical air conditioner odors and what they might mean:
My Air Conditioner 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 conducive to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a foul odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.
Another possible cause of the smell might be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other debris, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.
To solve this dilemma, 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 promote good air quality and restrict the formation of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning unit stinks like rotten eggs, it could be the result of 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, which is because of a substance added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak can be 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, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your cooling system smells like mildew, it might be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the air conditioning system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that bears a resemblance to mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell may be a dirty air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.
Routine air conditioning maintenance from Gilray Heating and Cooling 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 distressing things is when your AC smells like urine.
If your air conditioning equipment reeks of urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One potential cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that resembles urine.
Another potential cause of the stink could be a blocked 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 build up inside the unit. This can produce 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, a possible cause could be an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the unit. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and cause a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.
If you smell burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s important to contact a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your AC smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a distinctive odor, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is put into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.
As mentioned earlier, 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, leave the building and phone your gas company or emergency services straight away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
Should your AC smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that fosters the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a foul odor that can be 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 trapped in 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 worthwhile to have a professional check out and clean your HVAC system. They will be able to identify 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 several reasons an AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. A second possible 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 essential to have a skilled tech examine and clean your air conditioning. If the odor persists after the cleaning and changing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to find and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are looking to upgrade, Gilray Heating and Cooling can help select the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Wausau.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
Another possible reason for the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.
If you suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, it's important to shut down 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 prevent injury or damage to your home.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Gilray Heating and Cooling
If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, call the cooling specialists at Gilray Heating and Cooling. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning concerns throughout the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Wausau!