When your air conditioner starts emitting odd or funky smells, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system could lead to additional 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. In other cases, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a warning of a harmful situation, like a natural gas leak.
At Rapids Sheet Metal Works Inc, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something odd coming from your AC, there's a good chance our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Wisconsin Rapids.
What does a particular smell coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are some common air conditioner aromas and what they may mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a foul odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.
Another likely reason for the smell 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 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 regularly to promote good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your stinks like rotten eggs, it may be the result of 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, which is added to it to make it easily detectable.
A natural gas leak can be extremely 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.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew
If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it could be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside a cooling system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that bears a resemblance to mildew.
Another possible cause of the smell might be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.
Regular air conditioning maintenance from Rapids Sheet Metal Works Inc can help prevent both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system operating at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most distressing scenarios is when your AC smells like urine.
If your air conditioning stinks like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One likely cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.
Another possible cause of the scent of urine 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 clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your air conditioning unit smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical issue with the unit. Over time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the HVAC system. 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 think you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s worthwhile 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 the surrounding area. Natural gas has a recognizable aroma, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is added to natural gas so that it is easily detectable.
As we said earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and needs immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, leave the building and contact your gas company or emergency services right away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture causes an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a strong 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 trapped within 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 solve the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional examine and clean your HVAC system. They can identify 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 multiple reasons an air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a clogged air filter. A second 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 essential to have a skilled mechanic inspect 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 hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.
If you are wanting to upgrade, Rapids Sheet Metal Works Inc can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer reliable, expert air conditioner installation in Wisconsin Rapids.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning unit, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
One other possible reason for the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or components inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.
If you think your system has 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 harmful and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your residence.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Rapids Sheet Metal Works Inc
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, contact the cooling experts at Rapids Sheet Metal Works Inc. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning concerns through the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Wisconsin Rapids!