When your air conditioner starts emitting weird 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 air conditioner may lead to serious damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the root of the problem might be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a sign of an unsafe problem, like a natural gas leak.

At Bell Mechanical Services, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something peculiar coming from your air conditioner, chances are our team of qualified specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in McKinney and Frisco.

What does a particular smell billowing out of your air conditioning mean? Here are several frequent air conditioner smells and what they could 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 in the system. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is beneficial to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To fix this unpleasant situation, 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 replace the air filter regularly to ensure good air quality and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your stinks like rotten eggs, it may be the result of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a recognizable 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 a situation that 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 at once.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner smells like mildew, it may be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside a cooling system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that it similar to mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell might be a soiled air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Bell Mechanical Services can help prevent both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system operating at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioning equipment reeks of urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One potential cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.

Another potential cause of the stink 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 stopped up by debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can produce a musty smell that resembles urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical concern with the unit. After a while, the electrical elements 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 unit. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and cause a smell like burning plastic.

If you smell burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s important to call a professional right away.

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

As we said previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and needs 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 phone your gas company or emergency services right away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

When your air conditioner smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture causes an environment that fosters 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 potential 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 is trapped inside the unit and dies.

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

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons your AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a plugged air filter. Another potential cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s important to have a skilled specialist inspect and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor lingers 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, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, Bell Mechanical Services can help locate the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide reliable, expert air conditioner installation in McKinney and Frisco.

Your AC 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 scent that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

Another possible cause of the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.

If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, 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 hazardous and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your house.

Weird Smells Coming from the Air Conditioning? Call the Pros at Bell Mechanical Services

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, call the cooling professionals at Bell Mechanical Services. 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 weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in McKinney and Frisco!