When your air conditioner starts putting out odd or funky odors, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning could lead to serious damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.
Depending on what you're smelling, the cause might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are a sign of an unsafe problem, like a natural gas leak.
At Airmax Long Island, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something odd 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 a reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Long Island.
What does a certain smell billowing coming from your AC mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner odors and what they may mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it could be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is favorable to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a bad odor that is often described as smelling like feet.
Another possible explanation for an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause low air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.
To solve this issue, 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 regularly to ensure good air quality and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, it may be due to 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, that is added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak can be very 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, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it may be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside a cooling system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that bears a resemblance to mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell might be a clogged air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.
Routine air conditioning maintenance from Airmax Long Island can help prevent both of these problems, 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 distressing scenarios is when an air conditioner smells like urine.
If your air conditioner stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One possible cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.
Another possible 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 stopped up by debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that can stink like urine.
My Air Conditioner 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 elements in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the the air conditioner. 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 phone a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner 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 recognizable odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is added to natural gas to make it easily detectable.
As mentioned before, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and requires 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 phone your gas company or emergency services straight away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
Should your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that fosters 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 trapped in the air conditioning system. This often can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.
To correct the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional inspect and clean your air conditioning system. They will be able to find the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
There could be several reasons an air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a dirty air filter. A second possible cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled mechanic examine 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 diagnose and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, Airmax Long Island can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver dependable, skilled air conditioner installation in Long Island.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be caused by 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.
Another possible cause of the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or components inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.
If you suspect 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 dangerous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your home.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Airmax Long Island
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, reach out to the cooling experts at Airmax Long Island. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns through the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Long Island!