When your air conditioner starts spewing weird or gross aromas, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system can 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 root of the problem might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are even indicative of a dangerous problem, like a natural gas leak.
At Kirkfield Heating & Air Conditioning, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something peculiar coming from your cooling system, you can bet that our team of skilled specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Winnipeg.
What does a particular smell wafting out of your cooling system mean? Here are some typical air conditioner odors and what they might mean:
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet
If your air conditioner smells like feet, it may be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can create an environment that is conducive to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.
Another potential explanation for an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other particles, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.
To correct 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 replace the air filter on a regular basis to provide good air quality and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs
If your air conditioning equipment reeks of rotten eggs, it could be caused by 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 allow gas to escape the area, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.
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 the air conditioning system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that bears a resemblance to mildew.
Another possible explanation for the smell could be a soiled air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.
Routine air conditioning maintenance from Kirkfield Heating & Air Conditioning can help avoid both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system running at its best!
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine
One of the most distressing things is when your AC smells like urine.
If your air conditioning equipment reeks of urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One possible cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that is like urine.
Another possible cause of the stink could be a clogged 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 accumulate inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that can stink like urine.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic
If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical issue with the unit. After a while, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.
Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and cause a smell like burning plastic.
If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s worthwhile to contact a professional right away.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas
If your air conditioning smells like gas, it could be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinctive odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.
As we said previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and calls for immediate attention. Should you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services straight away.
Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish
When your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces an environment that promotes the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a strong odor that can be described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can create a smell like dirty feet.
Another possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck inside the air conditioning system. This often can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird is trapped inside the unit and dies.
To solve the issue, it's important to have a professional check out and clean your cooling system. They should be able to determine 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 your AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a dirty air filter. A second likely cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.
To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled specialist examine and clean your air conditioning. If the odor lingers after the cleaning and exchanging the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to identify and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.
If you are looking to upgrade, Kirkfield Heating & Air Conditioning can help find the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Winnipeg.
My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
If the smell of chemicals is emitting 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 people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.
Another possible source of the smell could be a problem 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 hazardous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your house.
Strange Smell Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Kirkfield Heating & Air Conditioning
If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, contact the cooling experts at Kirkfield Heating & Air Conditioning. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning concerns throughout the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Winnipeg!