When your air conditioner starts emitting weird or funky smells, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning may lead to further damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you're smelling, the cause might 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 a hazardous scenario, such as a natural gas leak.

At Dial One Mears Air Conditioning & Heating Inc, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd coming from your cooling system, you can bet that our team of skilled professionals 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 wafting coming from your cooling system mean? Here are a few common air conditioner aromas and what they may mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can create an environment that is beneficial to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a foul odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.

Another potential cause of an odor of stinky feet might be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other particles, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To correct this problem, 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 replace 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 air conditioning unit reeks of rotten eggs, it could be caused by 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, which is added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak 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 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 air conditioner is giving off an odor like mildew, it may be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside the air conditioning system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Another possible explanation for the smell could be a soiled air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

Regular 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 very good way to keep your system operating 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 conditioner stinks like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One possible cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that is 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 filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can produce a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.

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

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinct smell, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is incorporated into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

As we said earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful 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, leave the building and phone your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should your air conditioner smell like fish, you may have a situation where there's 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 foul 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 can happen if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.

To solve the issue, it's important to have a professional examine and clean your air conditioning system. They should be able to identify the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons your AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a plugged air filter. A second possible cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. When 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 mechanic examine 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 hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, Dial One Mears Air Conditioning & Heating Inc can help find the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer dependable, professional air conditioner installation in Phoenix.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning unit, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

One other possible cause of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can produce 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 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 protect against injury or damage to your house.

Weird Smells Coming from Your Cooling? Call the Pros at Dial One Mears Air Conditioning & Heating Inc

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 Dial One Mears Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning concerns over the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Phoenix!