When your air conditioner starts emitting strange or funky odors, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system can lead to serious damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the cause of the odor, the culprit might be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are even indicative of a harmful scenario, such as a natural gas leak.
At Pliescott HVAC Services LLC, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, you can bet that our team of talented pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Cambridge.
What does a certain smell wafting out of your AC mean? Here are a few frequent air conditioner smells and what they might mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can create an environment that is beneficial to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a foul odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another potential cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other particles, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.
To solve this dilemma, 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 growth of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioner stinks like rotten eggs, it might 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 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, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your cooling system is giving off an odor like mildew, it could be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside a cooling system, 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 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.
Routine air conditioning maintenance from Pliescott HVAC Services LLC can help prevent both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system running at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most undesirable situations is when your AC 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 HVAC. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that resembles urine.
Another potential cause of the smell could be a clogged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away effectively, but if the drain line becomes stopped up by debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can produce 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 concern with the unit. After a while, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and result in a smell similar to burning plastic.
If you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s worthwhile to phone a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioning smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a recognizable smell, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.
As mentioned previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and needs immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
If your air conditioner smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a strong odor that is often 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 becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.
To solve the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional check out and clean your cooling system. They can 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 numerous reasons a home's air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. One other potential cause of the smell may 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 beneficial to have a skilled tech inspect 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 identify and repair any persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, Pliescott HVAC Services LLC can help find the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer dependable, professional air conditioner installation in Cambridge.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioner, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
One other possible cause of the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can cause 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 as soon as possible and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be harmful and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your home.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Pliescott HVAC Services LLC
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, contact the cooling experts at Pliescott HVAC Services LLC. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns through the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Cambridge!