When your air conditioner starts spewing odd or gross odors, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner can lead to additional damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you're smelling, the cause 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 even indicative of a dangerous problem, such as a natural gas leak.

At Booneville Heating & Cooling, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something weird coming from your air conditioner, there's a good chance our team of skilled specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Booneville.

What does a particular smell wafting out of your cooling system mean? Here are several typical air conditioner odors and what they may mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it may be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can create an environment that is beneficial to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another possible explanation for the stench of dirty feet may be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other particles, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To solve this unpleasant situation, it's important to have a professional 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 on a regular basis to provide good air quality and protect against the formation of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner reeks of rotten eggs, it might be the result of 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 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 immediately.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner is giving off an odor like mildew, it might be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside a cooling system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that resembles mildew.

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

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Booneville Heating & Cooling can help prevent both of these problems, 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 scenarios is when an air conditioner smells like urine.

If your air conditioning equipment stinks like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One possible cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.

Another possible cause of the stink 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 produce a musty smell that resembles urine.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical problem with the unit. After a while, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, which can make 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 stuck in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and emit a smell similar to burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s essential to phone a professional right away.

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinctive smell, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is put into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As we said previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services straight away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

When your air conditioner smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that is conducive to 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 cause a smell like dirty feet.

Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught within the air conditioning system. This often is possible if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.

To correct the issue, it's important to have a professional examine and clean your cooling 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.

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 clogged air filter. A second possible cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. When 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 mechanic 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 hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, Booneville Heating & Cooling can help select the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver dependable, professional air conditioner installation in Booneville.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning unit, it could be the result of a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

One other possible reason for the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or components inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that is like 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 as soon as possible 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 Your AC? Call the Pros at Booneville Heating & Cooling

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, reach out to the cooling specialists at Booneville Heating & Cooling. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns over the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Booneville!