When your air conditioner starts putting out weird or gross aromas, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner may lead to serious damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the cause of the odor, the root of the problem might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a warning of a hazardous scenario, such as a natural gas leak.

At Ambience HVAC, Inc., we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, chances are our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Wilmington.

What does a certain smell billowing out of your air conditioning mean? Here are several frequent air conditioner odors and what they may mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

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

Another potential explanation for the smell may be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system’s air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To solve 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 change the air filter on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and prevent the formation of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning unit stinks like rotten eggs, it could be because of 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 is added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak can be extremely 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 collection 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 stench that bears a resemblance to mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell might be a dirty air filter. Once 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 Ambience HVAC, Inc. can help protect against both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system working at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioning equipment stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One likely cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that resembles urine.

Another potential cause of the stink 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 clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that can stink like urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical problem with the unit. After some time, the electrical components 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 that somehow got in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and result in a smell similar to burning plastic.

If you smell burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s essential to call a professional right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a distinct smell, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is put into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned before, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and requires immediate attention. If 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.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should 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 produces an environment that promotes 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 create a smell like dirty feet.

Another potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck 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 check out and clean your air conditioning system. They will be able to identify the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons an AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a dirty air filter. One other potential cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.

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

If you are looking to upgrade, Ambience HVAC, Inc. can help locate the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer reliable, skilled air conditioner installation in Wilmington.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

Another possible reason for the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, it’s important to turn off your air conditioning system right away 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 residence.

A Nasty Odor Coming from Your Cooling? Call the Pros at Ambience HVAC, Inc.

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, call the cooling specialists at Ambience HVAC, Inc.. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles through the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Wilmington!