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

Depending on the cause of the odor, the culprit may be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a sign of a hazardous problem, including a natural gas leak.

At Marios Air Conditioning, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something weird coming from your air conditioner, there’s a good chance our team of skilled professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Thousand Palms.

What does a particular smell coming from your cooling system mean? Here are a few frequent air conditioner smells and what they might mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might 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 conducive to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a bad odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another potential explanation for the stench of dirty feet could be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system’s air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other particles, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To fix this unpleasant situation, 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 provide good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning equipment smells like rotten eggs, it could be the result 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, that is added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak is a situation that is 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, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

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

Another possible reason for the smell might be a soiled air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

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

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable scenarios is when an air conditioner smells like urine.

If your air conditioner stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One likely cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.

Another potential cause of the smell could be a plugged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away correctly, but if the drain line becomes stopped up by debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that resembles urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning unit smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical concern with the unit. After some time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets trapped 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 air conditioner, it’s important to call a professional right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioning 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 put into natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As mentioned earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful 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, get everyone out of the building and phone your gas company or emergency services straight away.

Why My Air Conditioner 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 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 possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught inside 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 correct the issue, it’s worthwhile to have a professional check out and clean your HVAC system. They should be able to find the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons a home’s AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a clogged air filter. Another 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 beneficial to have a skilled specialist inspect 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 diagnose and repair any persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, Marios Air Conditioning can help locate the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Thousand Palms.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

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

An additional possible cause of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.

If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, 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 dangerous and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your residence.

Weird Smells Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Marios Air Conditioning

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, call the cooling professionals at Marios Air Conditioning. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning concerns over the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Thousand Palms!