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

Depending on the smell, the culprit 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 a sign of an unsafe scenario, including a natural gas leak.

At Pepper AC & Heat, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something weird coming from your AC, you can bet that our team of skilled pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Justin.

What does a specific odor billowing from your cooling system mean? Here are several typical air conditioner smells and what they could mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can create an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a foul odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another likely reason for the smell might be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other debris, it can result in substandard air quality and a musty smell that resembles 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 change the air filter on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and prevent the development of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your 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 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 ventilate 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 is giving off an odor like mildew, it might be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside a cooling system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell 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 lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Pepper AC & Heat can help protect against both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system running at its best!

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable scenarios 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 accumulation of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that is like urine.

Another feasible 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 choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that can stink like urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical problem with the unit. Over time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and cause a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

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

Your AC Smells Like Gas

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

As stated before, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and needs immediate attention. When 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 right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Fish

Should your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture causes an environment that promotes 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 cause 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 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 inspect and clean your air conditioning system. They can find the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons a home’s air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a plugged air filter. Another likely cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can make 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 continues after the cleaning and changing of the air filter, it’s best to reach back out to a professional to diagnose and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, Pepper AC & Heat can help select the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Justin.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning unit, it could be the result of a refrigerant leak. When 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 hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.

If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, it’s important to turn off your air conditioning system as soon as possible and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be harmful and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your home.

Weird Smells Coming from Your Cooling? Call the Pros at Pepper AC & Heat

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, contact the cooling specialists at Pepper AC & Heat. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning concerns over the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Justin!