When your air conditioner starts putting out odd or funky smells, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system could lead to additional damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

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

At Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Inc., we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something weird coming from your cooling system, there's a good chance our team of skilled professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Branchville.

What does a particular smell wafting coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are several 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 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 spread of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a bad odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.

Another potential reason for the smell could be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can result in low air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To correct 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 regularly to provide good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner reeks of rotten eggs, it may be caused by 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, that is 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 allow gas to escape the area, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it might be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the air conditioning system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that bears a resemblance to mildew.

Another possible reason for 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 is similar to mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Inc. can help avoid both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system working at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioning reeks of urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One likely cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that is conducive to 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 properly, but if the drain line becomes filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that can stink like urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and cause a smell similar to 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.

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 distinctive odor, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is added to natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned before, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and requires immediate attention. If 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.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, you may have a situation where there's 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 disgusting odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck in the air conditioning system. This often can happen if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.

To fix the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional inspect and clean your air conditioning system. They will be able to determine the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons a home's air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a plugged air filter. One other potential cause of the smell could 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 beneficial to have a skilled specialist look at and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor persists after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to diagnose and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Inc. can help select the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Branchville.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioner, it could be due to 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.

Another possible cause of the smell could be something wrong 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 shut down 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 avoid injury or damage to your residence.

Strange Smell Coming from the Air Conditioning? Call the Pros at Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Inc.

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, call the cooling experts at Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Inc.. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Branchville!