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

Depending on the cause of the odor, the root of the problem could be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a warning of an unsafe situation, including a natural gas leak.

At Farnell Heating & Air Conditioning Inc, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something weird coming from your AC, chances are our team of qualified pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Mobile.

What does a certain smell coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner odors and what they may mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

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

Another likely cause of an odor of stinky feet could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To correct 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 provide good air quality and protect against the formation of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your reeks of rotten eggs, it could be because of 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 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, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner is giving off an odor like mildew, it might be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside an air conditioner, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that it similar to mildew.

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

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Farnell Heating & Air Conditioning Inc can help avoid both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system operating at its best!

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine

One of the most unpleasant situations is when your AC smells like urine.

If your air conditioning smells like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One likely cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that resembles urine.

Another feasible cause of the scent of urine 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 build up inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning unit smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical problem with the unit. After a while, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and result in a smell similar to burning plastic.

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

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioning smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a recognizable smell, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As we said before, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful 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 call your gas company or emergency services straight away.

Your AC Smells Like Fish

Should your air conditioner smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a strong odor that can be 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 caught in the air conditioning system. This often can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.

To solve the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional examine and clean your cooling system. They will be able to determine the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons a home's air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. A second possible cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled mechanic inspect and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor persists after the cleaning and changing of 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, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Farnell Heating & Air Conditioning Inc can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Mobile.

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 odor that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

One other possible cause of the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can cause 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 off your air conditioning system immediately and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be hazardous and may require immediate attention to avoid injury or damage to your home.

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

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, call the cooling experts at Farnell Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns throughout the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Mobile!