When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or unappealing odors, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system may lead to serious damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on what you're smelling, the cause may be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are even indicative of an unsafe situation, like a natural gas leak.
At J.L. Brady Company LLC, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your AC, chances are our team of qualified specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Moline.
What does a specific odor coming out of your AC mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner aromas and what they could 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 in the system. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can create an environment that is beneficial to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.
Another likely explanation for the stench of dirty feet may 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 issue, it's important to have a quality service tech 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 on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your reeks of rotten eggs, it might be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a unique odor, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur, which is added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak can be very 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 right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your cooling system smells like mildew, it may be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside a cooling system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that it similar to mildew.
Another possible reason for the smell could 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.
Routine air conditioning maintenance from J.L. Brady Company LLC can help avoid 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!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most undesirable things is when your AC smells like urine.
If your air conditioning reeks of urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One likely cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. 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 produce a foul odor that is like urine.
Another possible cause of the scent of urine 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 collect inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and emit a smell like burning plastic.
If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s important to contact a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your AC smells like gas, it could be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinctive odor, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is incorporated into natural gas to make it easily detectable.
As mentioned previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous 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 call your gas company or emergency services straight away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When your AC smell like fish, this could be a sign of 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 strong odor that is sometimes 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 trapped inside the air conditioning system. This often can happen if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.
To solve the issue, it's important to have a professional examine and clean your cooling system. They can 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 several reasons your air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. Another possible cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled specialist 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 tech can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are planning to upgrade, J.L. Brady Company LLC can help find the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, expert air conditioner installation in Moline.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning equipment, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
One other possible reason for the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.
If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, 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 harmful and may require immediate attention to avoid injury or damage to your home.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at J.L. Brady Company LLC
If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, reach out to the cooling professionals at J.L. Brady Company LLC. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns through the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Moline!