When your air conditioner starts emitting odd or gross odors, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system can lead to further damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the cause may be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are a warning of a harmful situation, such as a natural gas leak.

At Dearing's Service & Solutions, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something peculiar coming from your AC, you can bet that our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Huntingburg.

What does a certain smell coming out of your air conditioning mean? Here are some frequent air conditioner smells and what they may mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

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

Another potential cause of the stench of dirty feet could be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To correct this issue, it's important to have an experienced specialist 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 regularly to promote good air quality and prevent the development of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, it may be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive 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 a situation that is very 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 at once.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your AC smells like mildew, it might be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside the air conditioning system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that resembles mildew.

Another possible explanation for the smell could be a clogged air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Dearing's Service & Solutions can help protect against both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system operating at its best!

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioning stinks like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One potential cause is a buildup 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 is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that resembles urine.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away properly, but if the drain line becomes choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that resembles urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, this could indicate 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 root cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and cause a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s essential to contact a professional right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, it could be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a recognizable odor, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is added to natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

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

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Fish

If your AC smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a disgusting odor that is sometimes described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can cause a smell like dirty feet.

Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck inside the air conditioning system. This often is possible 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 inspect and clean your HVAC system. They should be able to find 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 multiple reasons an AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a clogged air filter. Another potential cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled specialist look at and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor persists after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to diagnose and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Dearing's Service & Solutions can help select the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Huntingburg.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning unit, it could be the result of 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.

Another possible cause of the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, it's important to shut down your air conditioning system immediately and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be dangerous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your home.

Strange Smell Coming from Your Cooling? Contact the Experts at Dearing's Service & Solutions

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, reach out to the cooling professionals at Dearing's Service & Solutions. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles through the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Huntingburg!