When your air conditioner starts putting out odd or funky odors, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning may lead to serious damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you’re smelling, the root of the problem could be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are even indicative of a dangerous problem, such as a natural gas leak.

At Dearing's Service & Solutions, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd coming from your AC, you can bet that our team of talented pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Huntingburg.

What does a particular smell wafting out of your AC mean? Here are a few frequent air conditioner smells and what they may mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can create an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a bad odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another potential cause of the smell might be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system’s air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other particles, it can result in substandard air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To solve this dilemma, 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 change the air filter routinely to promote good air quality and restrict the growth of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your smells 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, that is added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak can be 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 right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your AC is giving off an odor like mildew, it might be due to a buildup 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 stench that it similar to mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell may 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 Dearing's Service & Solutions can help prevent both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system running at its best!

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine

One of the most distressing things is when your AC smells like urine.

If your air conditioning stinks like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One possible cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that resembles 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 collect inside the unit. This can produce a musty smell that resembles urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical concern with the unit. After some 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 lodged in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and emit a smell similar to burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s important to phone a professional right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioning smells like gas, it could be due to 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’s because an odor is added to natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As stated earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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, evacuate the building and contact your gas company or emergency services right away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

If your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that fosters 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 create a smell like dirty feet.

Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught within the air conditioning system. This often is possible 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 HVAC system. They will be able to determine the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons an air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a plugged air filter. Another likely cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s essential to have a skilled mechanic examine and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor continues after the cleaning and exchanging the air filter, it’s best to reach back out to a professional to find and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, Dearing's Service & Solutions can help find the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver dependable, skilled air conditioner installation in Huntingburg.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, 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.

An additional possible cause 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 issue, it’s important to shut down your air conditioning system as soon as possible 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 home.

A Nasty Odor Coming from the Air Conditioning? Call the Pros at Dearing's Service & Solutions

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, reach out to the cooling experts at Dearing's Service & Solutions. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning problems throughout the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Huntingburg!