When your air conditioner starts putting out weird or unappealing aromas, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner may lead to serious damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you're smelling, the culprit might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are even indicative of a dangerous scenario, such as a natural gas leak.

At Point Heating & Cooling, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something weird coming from your air conditioner, there's a good chance our team of talented pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Plover.

What does a certain smell billowing from your cooling system mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner smells and what they might mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

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

Another likely explanation for an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged 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 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 change the air filter on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and protect against the formation of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner 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 distinctive 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 very dangerous and requires immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, immediately open windows and doors to air out the area, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services at once.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your cooling system smells like mildew, it might be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside an air conditioner, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that bears a resemblance to mildew.

Another possible explanation for the smell may be a dirty air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from Point Heating & Cooling can help avoid both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system working at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioner smells like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One likely 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 moist environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that it similar to urine.

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

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the unit. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and emit a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s essential to call a professional right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinct aroma, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

If 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 is conducive to the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a foul 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 is trapped inside the unit and dies.

To solve the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional inspect and clean your cooling system. They can identify the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons your air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a clogged air filter. Another possible cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled tech look at 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 identify and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

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

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning unit, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

An additional possible source of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or components inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.

If you believe there is a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, it's important to shut off your air conditioning system right away 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? Call the Pros at Point Heating & Cooling

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