When your air conditioner starts spewing strange or unappealing odors, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner could lead to further damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the cause could be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are a warning of a hazardous situation, like a natural gas leak.

At Farnell Mechanical, Inc., we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something weird coming from your cooling system, you can bet that our team of skilled professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Auburn and Opelika.

What does a certain smell coming coming from your AC mean? Here are several frequent air conditioner aromas and what they may mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

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

Another potential cause of an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system’s air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To solve this dilemma, 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 promote good air quality and protect against the growth of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning equipment stinks like rotten eggs, it may be caused by 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 added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak is a situation that is extremely 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.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner smells like mildew, it may be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside an air conditioner, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that resembles mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell might be a soiled air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Farnell Mechanical, Inc. can help prevent both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system working at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioning reeks of urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One potential cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that is like urine.

Another potential cause of the stink could be a plugged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away properly, but if the drain line becomes filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that can stink like urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, 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 that somehow got in the unit. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and result in a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

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

Your AC Smells Like Gas

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

As mentioned earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous 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 phone your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.

Your AC Smells Like Fish

Should your air conditioner smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces 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 result in 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 can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.

To solve the issue, it’s often necessary to have a professional examine and clean your air conditioning system. They can identify the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons a home’s air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a clogged air filter. A second possible cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s important to have a skilled specialist 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 persistent 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, Farnell Mechanical, Inc. can help locate the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, expert air conditioner installation in Auburn and Opelika.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning unit, it could be the result of a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that people sometimes 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 elements inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.

If you believe there is a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, it’s important to shut down your air conditioning system right away and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be dangerous and may require immediate attention to avoid injury or damage to your house.

Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Contact the Experts at Farnell Mechanical, Inc.

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, contact the cooling specialists at Farnell Mechanical, Inc.. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning problems through the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Auburn and Opelika!