When your air conditioner starts putting out weird or funky aromas, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Disregarding 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 cause of the odor, the root of the problem may be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a warning of an unsafe problem, like a natural gas leak.

At Haselhoff Air Solutions, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your AC, you can bet that our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Ames.

What does a certain smell coming out of your AC mean? Here are several frequent air conditioner smells and what they could mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it may be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can create an environment that is conducive to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a foul odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.

Another possible explanation for an odor of stinky feet might be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system’s air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To fix this issue, 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 exchange the air filter regularly to provide good air quality and prevent the formation of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning unit reeks of rotten eggs, it might be due to 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, that 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 ventilate the area, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your AC is giving off an odor like mildew, it might be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside an air conditioner, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that bears a resemblance to mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell might be a clogged air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Haselhoff Air Solutions can help protect against both of these situations, 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 scenarios is when your AC smells like urine.

If your air conditioning smells like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One possible cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.

Another potential cause of the stink could be a blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away effectively, but if the drain line becomes choked 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, it might be because of an electrical issue with the unit. After some time, the electrical parts 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 unit. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and emit a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s essential to contact a professional right away.

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioning 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 distinct aroma, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is put into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As we said earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Fish

If 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 is conducive to the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a foul odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can cause a smell like dirty feet.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped inside 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 important to have a professional inspect and clean your cooling system. They will be able to find the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons your AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a dirty air filter. One other likely cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that is similar to 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 exchanging 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, they can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, Haselhoff Air Solutions can help locate the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver dependable, skilled air conditioner installation in Ames.

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. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

One other possible reason for the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or components inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you believe there is a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, it’s important to turn off 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 house.

A Nasty Odor Coming from the Air Conditioning? Call the Pros at Haselhoff Air Solutions

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, contact the cooling specialists at Haselhoff Air Solutions. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns over the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Ames!