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

Depending on the smell, the culprit may be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are even indicative of a hazardous problem, such as a natural gas leak.

At B&D Air Conditioning, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something peculiar coming from your air conditioner, chances are 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 Safford.

What does a particular smell wafting out of your cooling system mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner smells and what they may mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it could be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is conducive to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a foul 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 the air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other particles, it can lead to low air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To correct this unpleasant situation, 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 routinely to provide good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner 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 distinct odor, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur, that is 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 ventilate the area, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner is giving off an odor like mildew, it may be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside the air conditioning system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell may be a dirty air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from B&D Air Conditioning can help protect against both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system running at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

One of the most distressing things is when your AC smells like urine.

If your air conditioning equipment smells like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One potential cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that is like urine.

Another possible cause of the stink 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 choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that can stink like urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical issue with the unit. After a while, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the unit. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and result in a smell like burning plastic.

If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s worthwhile to call a professional right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioning smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a recognizable odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is incorporated into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned before, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and needs 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.

The Air Conditioning 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 causes an environment that is conducive to 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 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 can happen if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.

To correct the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional check out and clean your HVAC system. They will be able to find the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons a home's air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a clogged air filter. A second potential cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled specialist examine 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 identify and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, B&D Air Conditioning can help locate the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver reliable, skilled air conditioner installation in Safford.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning unit, it could be due to 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 problems with the electrical wiring or elements 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 concern, it's important to shut down your air conditioning system as soon as possible and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be hazardous and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your residence.

Weird Smells Coming from the Air Conditioning? Call the Pros at B&D Air Conditioning

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, reach out to the cooling professionals at B&D Air Conditioning. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning troubles through the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Safford!