When your air conditioner starts emitting weird or unappealing aromas, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning may lead to additional damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the cause of the odor, the cause may be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are even indicative of an unsafe situation, such as a natural gas leak.

At Bain Heating & Air Conditioning, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something peculiar coming from your AC, chances are 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 Heflin.

What does a specific odor billowing from your AC mean? Here are a few common air conditioner aromas and what they might mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.

Another likely reason for the smell might be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other debris, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to 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 change the air filter on a regular basis to promote good air quality and restrict the growth of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning unit 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 recognizable 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 extraordinarily 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, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it could be due to a accumulation 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 stench that bears a resemblance to mildew.

Another possible cause of the smell may be a dirty air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Bain Heating & Air Conditioning 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 an air conditioner smells like urine.

If your air conditioner stinks like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One potential cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that is like urine.

Another potential cause of the smell 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 filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can produce a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be 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 reason for the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and result in 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.

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 the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive aroma, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is incorporated into natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As stated earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and needs 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 contact your gas company or emergency services straight away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

When your AC smell like fish, it could be due to 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 disgusting odor that can be 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 caught inside the air conditioning system. This often can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.

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

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons a home's air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a plugged air filter. Another potential cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled specialist look at and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor lingers after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to find and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, Bain Heating & Air Conditioning can help locate the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Heflin.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning equipment, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

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

If you believe there is a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, 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 hazardous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your residence.

Strange Smell Coming from Your Cooling? Contact the Experts at Bain Heating & Air Conditioning

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, call the cooling professionals at Bain Heating & Air Conditioning. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning problems throughout the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Heflin!