When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or funky odors, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system can lead to further damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the culprit could be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are even indicative of a hazardous scenario, like a natural gas leak.

At Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd coming from your AC, chances are our team of talented pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Croydon.

What does a particular smell billowing out of your air conditioning mean? Here are some common air conditioner smells and what they might mean:

The Air Conditioning 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 builds inside the unit, it can create an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a nasty 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 filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can result in low air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To correct this dilemma, 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 on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and restrict the development of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your reeks of rotten eggs, it might be because of 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 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 air out the area, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner smells like mildew, it may be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside an air conditioner, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that resembles mildew.

Another possible explanation for the smell could be a dirty air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC can help avoid both of these problems, 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 distressing things is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.

If your air conditioning equipment stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. 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 wet environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that is like urine.

Another potential 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 filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Burning Plastic

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

Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can become 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 essential to phone a professional right away.

The Air Conditioning 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 distinct aroma, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As we said 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, leave the building and phone your gas company or emergency services right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should your AC smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates 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 create a smell like dirty feet.

Another potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped within the air conditioning system. This often is possible 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 check out and clean your HVAC system. They can find the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons an AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a dirty air filter. A second likely cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s important to have a skilled mechanic inspect and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor lingers after the cleaning and changing of the air filter, it’s best to reach back out to a professional to find and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC can help locate the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Croydon.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioner, it could be the result of 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 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 resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, 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 dangerous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your residence.

Weird Smells Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC

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