When your air conditioner starts emitting odd or gross odors, it is important 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 HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on what you're smelling, the culprit may be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are even indicative of an unsafe scenario, such as a natural gas leak.
At Dial One Mears Air Conditioning & Heating Inc, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something weird coming from your cooling system, there's a good chance 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 Phoenix.
What does a specific odor billowing from your AC mean? Here are several common air conditioner smells and what they may mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can create an environment that is beneficial to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a foul odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.
Another potential reason for the stench of dirty feet may be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can cause low air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.
To solve this issue, 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 exchange the air filter regularly to ensure good air quality and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your smells like rotten eggs, it could be caused by 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 extraordinarily dangerous and requires immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, immediately open windows and doors to air out the area, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your cooling system emits a smell like mildew, it could be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside an air conditioner, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that it similar to mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell may be a clogged air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.
Routine air conditioning maintenance from Dial One Mears Air Conditioning & Heating Inc can help avoid both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system working at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most undesirable scenarios is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.
If your air conditioning stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One possible cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.
Another potential 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 create a musty smell that resembles urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your air conditioning unit smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical concern with the unit. After a while, the electrical elements 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 lodged in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and result in a smell like burning plastic.
If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s essential to call a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner 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 smell, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is incorporated into natural gas to make it easily detectable.
As stated previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous and calls for immediate attention. When you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, leave the building and contact your gas company or emergency services right away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
If your AC 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 strong odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can cause 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 take place 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 examine and clean your HVAC system. They should 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 conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a clogged air filter. One other possible cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled mechanic examine and clean your air conditioning. If the odor continues after the cleaning and replacing 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, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, Dial One Mears Air Conditioning & Heating Inc can help locate the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver reliable, skilled air conditioner installation in Phoenix.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioner, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
An additional possible source of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or components inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.
If you believe there is a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, 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 protect against injury or damage to your house.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Dial One Mears Air Conditioning & Heating Inc
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, reach out to the cooling specialists at Dial One Mears Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles over the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Phoenix!