When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or unappealing smells, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning could lead to further damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the culprit might be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a warning of a dangerous situation, such as a natural gas leak.

At Connolly Electric & Mechanical, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something weird coming from your air conditioner, chances are our team of skilled pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Cottonwood & Prescott.

What does a certain smell billowing from your cooling system mean? Here are a few frequent air conditioner odors and what they may mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

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

Another likely explanation for 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 particles, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To fix 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 exchange the air filter routinely to promote good air quality and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning equipment stinks like rotten eggs, it might be caused by 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 because of a substance added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak 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 ventilate the area, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your AC emits a smell like mildew, it could be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside a cooling system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that it similar to mildew.

Another possible explanation for the smell could be a dirty air filter. If 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 Connolly Electric & Mechanical can help prevent both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system running at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

One of the most distressing situations is when an air conditioner smells like urine.

If your air conditioning equipment smells like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One possible cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that it similar to 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 filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that can stink like 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 some 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 heat up and emit a smell like burning plastic.

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

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is added to natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As stated before, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous and requires 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 contact your gas company or emergency services right away.

Your AC Smells Like Fish

If your air conditioner 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 disgusting odor that can be 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 take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird is 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 proper steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons a home’s air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a plugged air filter. One other potential 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 essential to have a skilled tech look at and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor continues after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it’s best to reach back out to a professional to identify 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 wanting to upgrade, Connolly Electric & Mechanical can help select the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer dependable, professional air conditioner installation in Cottonwood & Prescott.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning unit, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

Another possible source of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or components inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, it’s important to turn off your air conditioning system immediately 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 home.

A Nasty Odor Coming from the Air Conditioning? Call the Pros at Connolly Electric & Mechanical

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, reach out to the cooling professionals at Connolly Electric & Mechanical. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles through the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Cottonwood & Prescott!