When your air conditioner starts spewing odd or unappealing odors, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning 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. On the other hand, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are a sign of an unsafe scenario, including a natural gas leak.

At JTech Mechanical, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something weird coming from your AC, chances are our team of qualified pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Magnolia.

What does a certain smell coming from your AC mean? Here are several common air conditioner aromas and what they may mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another possible cause of an odor of stinky feet might be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other debris, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To fix this issue, it’s important to have an experienced specialist inspect and clean your air conditioning system, including the evaporator coil, drain pan and condensate drain line. It’s also important to replace the air filter regularly to ensure good air quality and prevent the development of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your smells like 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 a situation that is 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 right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your AC smells like mildew, it may be due to a buildup 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 odor that resembles mildew.

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

Regular air conditioning maintenance from JTech Mechanical can help protect against both of these issues, 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 undesirable things is when an air conditioner smells like urine.

If your air conditioning reeks of urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One possible cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.

Another feasible cause of the smell could be a plugged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away effectively, but if the drain line becomes filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect 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 conditioner 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 malfunction, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.

If you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s important to contact a professional right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive odor, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is incorporated into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

As we said before, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous and calls for immediate attention. If 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.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Fish

If your air conditioning equipment 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 disgusting odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.

Another potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck 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 fix the issue, it’s often necessary to have a professional inspect and clean your HVAC system. They will be able to identify the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons your AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a clogged air filter. Another likely cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. When 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 persists 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, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, JTech Mechanical can help find the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Magnolia.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

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

An additional possible reason for the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you believe there is a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, it’s important to shut down your air conditioning system immediately 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 JTech Mechanical

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, contact the cooling professionals at JTech Mechanical. We have years 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 Magnolia!