When your air conditioner starts putting out odd or unappealing smells, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system may lead to additional damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you’re smelling, 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 conditioning system. Some smells are a sign of an unsafe situation, like a natural gas leak.

At Mountain Air, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your cooling system, there’s a good chance our team of qualified specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Morgantown.

What does a particular smell coming out of your AC mean? Here are some common air conditioner aromas and what they might mean:

The Air Conditioning 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 collects inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another likely explanation for an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in substandard air quality and a musty smell that resembles 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 ensure good air quality and restrict the development of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning equipment reeks of rotten eggs, it may be due to 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 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 air out the area, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your cooling system smells like mildew, it might 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 odor that it similar to mildew.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a clogged air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from Mountain Air can help prevent both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system operating at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable situations is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.

If your air conditioner reeks of urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One likely cause is a collection 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 favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that it similar to urine.

Another possible cause of the scent of urine could be a blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away correctly, but if the drain line becomes clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can produce a musty smell that resembles urine.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical issue with the unit. After some time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the unit. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and result in a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s important to contact a professional right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Gas

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

As mentioned earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and calls for immediate attention. Should you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, evacuate the building and phone your gas company or emergency services right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Fish

If your air conditioner smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture causes an environment that is conducive to 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 cause a smell like dirty feet.

Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped within the air conditioning system. This often is possible if an animal such as a mouse or bird is trapped inside the unit and dies.

To fix the issue, it’s often necessary to have a professional inspect and clean your cooling system. They can find the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons an AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a clogged air filter. A second possible cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create 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 lingers after the cleaning and changing of the air filter, it’s best to reach back out to a professional to identify and repair any persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, Mountain Air can help select the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Morgantown.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

An additional possible reason for the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or components inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you suspect 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 prevent injury or damage to your house.

Strange Smell Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at Mountain Air

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, reach out to the cooling specialists at Mountain Air. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles over the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Morgantown!