When your air conditioner starts emitting weird or unappealing odors, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning could lead to further damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the cause of the odor, the cause 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 warning of a dangerous problem, like a natural gas leak.
At I-Deal HVAC, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, chances are our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Albuquerque.
What does a particular smell billowing out of your cooling system mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner odors and what they may mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it could be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can create an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another likely cause of the smell may be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other debris, it can result in substandard air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.
To solve this issue, 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 replace the air filter routinely to ensure 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 may 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 added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak 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 air out the area, evacuate 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 could be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside the air conditioning system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that bears a resemblance to mildew.
Another possible reason for the smell could be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.
Regular air conditioning maintenance from I-Deal HVAC can help protect against both of these issues, 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 undesirable situations is when an air conditioner smells like urine.
If your air conditioner stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One potential cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that it similar to urine.
Another potential cause of the scent of urine could be a clogged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away correctly, but if the drain line becomes choked 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, this could indicate an electrical problem with the unit. After some time, the electrical parts 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 that somehow got in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and cause a smell like burning plastic.
If you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s important to phone a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioning smells like gas, it could be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is put into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.
As we said earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful 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 right away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
If 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 foul odor that can be described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.
Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped in the air conditioning system. This often can happen 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 inspect and clean your cooling system. They will be able to determine the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.
Why 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 dirty air filter. One other potential cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled tech look at and clean your air conditioning. If the odor lingers after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to diagnose and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.
If you are planning to upgrade, I-Deal HVAC can help select the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide reliable, expert air conditioner installation in Albuquerque.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning equipment, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
An additional possible cause of the smell could be problems 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 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 dangerous and may require immediate attention to avoid injury or damage to your home.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at I-Deal HVAC
If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, contact the cooling experts at I-Deal HVAC. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Albuquerque!