When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or unappealing aromas, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner can lead to serious damage to your HVAC system 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 sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a sign of an unsafe situation, including a natural gas leak.

At Mechanical Air Systems Co, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something weird coming from your AC, chances are our team of skilled pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Mason City.

What does a particular smell coming from your AC mean? Here are several typical air conditioner aromas and what they might mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

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

Another likely cause of the smell may be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system’s air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To correct this unpleasant situation, 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 regularly to provide good air quality and restrict the development of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning equipment stinks like rotten eggs, it may be due to 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, 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 ventilate the area, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your cooling system is giving off an odor like mildew, it could be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside a cooling system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that resembles mildew.

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

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Mechanical Air Systems Co can help avoid both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system running at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable situations is when your AC smells like urine.

If your air conditioner stinks like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One potential cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that it similar to urine.

Another feasible cause of the smell 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 clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that resembles urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical problem with the unit. After a while, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the unit. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and result in a smell similar to burning plastic.

If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s important to phone a professional right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioning smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is added to natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As stated previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and calls for immediate attention. When 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 straight away.

Your AC Smells Like Fish

Should your AC smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces an environment that promotes the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a foul odor that is sometimes described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.

Another potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped in 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 HVAC system. They will be able to determine the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons an air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a plugged air filter. A second potential cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s important to have a skilled tech inspect 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 diagnose 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, Mechanical Air Systems Co can help select the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Mason City.

The Air Conditioning 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 odor that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

An additional possible source of the smell could be a problem with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you believe there is a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, 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.

A Nasty Odor Coming from Your Cooling? Call the Pros at Mechanical Air Systems Co

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, reach out to the cooling experts at Mechanical Air Systems Co. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning problems throughout the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Mason City!