When your air conditioner starts putting out odd or gross aromas, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning may lead to additional damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you're smelling, the cause may be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a warning of an unsafe situation, including a natural gas leak.

At Pliescott HVAC Services LLC, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something weird coming from your AC, chances are our team of skilled pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Cambridge.

What does a specific odor wafting out of your air conditioning mean? Here are a few common air conditioner aromas and what they may mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it may be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a bad odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.

Another potential explanation for the stench of dirty feet could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can lead to low air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To solve this problem, 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 exchange the air filter routinely to promote good air quality and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your smells like rotten eggs, it might be because 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, that is added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak is extraordinarily 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.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it could 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 could be a clogged air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from Pliescott HVAC Services LLC can help avoid both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system running at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

One of the most distressing situations is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.

If your air conditioner reeks of urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One likely cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that it similar to urine.

Another feasible cause of the smell could be a plugged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away effectively, but if the drain line becomes choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning unit smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical issue with the unit. After some time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and emit a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s worthwhile to call a professional right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioning smells like gas, 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 of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is put into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

As we said earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and requires immediate attention. Should you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

If your AC 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 promotes the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a strong odor that can be described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck within 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 often necessary to have a professional check out and clean your air conditioning system. They can identify the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

The Air Conditioning 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. A second likely cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled specialist inspect and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor continues after the cleaning and changing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to identify and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Pliescott HVAC Services LLC can help select the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Cambridge.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning unit, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

Another possible reason for the smell could be an issue 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 suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, it's important to turn off your air conditioning system right away and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be hazardous and may require immediate attention to avoid injury or damage to your residence.

Weird Smells Coming from Your AC? Contact the Experts at Pliescott HVAC Services LLC

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, reach out to the cooling specialists at Pliescott HVAC Services LLC. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Cambridge!