When your air conditioner starts spewing unusual or gross smells, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system may lead to further damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on the smell, the culprit may be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a sign of a harmful situation, such as a natural gas leak.
At Bell Mechanical Services, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something peculiar coming from your cooling system, you can bet that our team of skilled pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in McKinney and Frisco.
What does a specific odor wafting from your cooling system mean? Here are a few frequent air conditioner aromas and what they could 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 accumulates inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is favorable to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.
Another likely explanation for the stench of dirty feet might be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can lead to low air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.
To correct this problem, 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 change the air filter routinely to provide good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning equipment stinks like rotten eggs, it might be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a unique 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 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, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it might be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside the air conditioning system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that resembles mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell might be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.
Annual air conditioning maintenance from Bell Mechanical Services can help protect against both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system operating at its best!
My Air Conditioner 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 conditioner smells like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. 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 moist environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.
Another potential cause of the smell 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 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 unit smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and emit a smell similar to burning plastic.
If you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s important to phone 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 distinct aroma, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.
As mentioned earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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, get everyone out of the building and phone your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When 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 create a smell like dirty feet.
Another potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught within the air conditioning system. This often can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.
To fix the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional examine and clean your cooling system. They will be able to identify the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be multiple reasons a home's air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a clogged air filter. Another likely cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled tech examine 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 hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, Bell Mechanical Services can help locate the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in McKinney and Frisco.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioner, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
One other possible source of the smell could be a problem with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.
If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, it's important to turn 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 prevent injury or damage to your residence.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Bell Mechanical Services
If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, reach out to the cooling professionals at Bell Mechanical Services. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning concerns over the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in McKinney and Frisco!