When your air conditioner starts emitting weird or unappealing aromas, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner may lead to additional damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the cause of the odor, the root of the problem could 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 sign of a harmful situation, including a natural gas leak.

At Connolly Electric & Mechanical, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something peculiar coming from your cooling system, you can bet that our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Cottonwood & Prescott.

What does a certain smell wafting from your air conditioning mean? Here are a few frequent air conditioner smells 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 spread of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a nasty odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.

Another possible cause of an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other particles, it can result in low air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To fix this unpleasant situation, 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 change the air filter routinely to ensure good air quality and protect against the growth of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your stinks like rotten eggs, it may 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, which is added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak is extraordinarily dangerous and requires immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, immediately open windows and doors to air out the area, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your AC smells like mildew, it may be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside an air conditioner, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that it similar to mildew.

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

Routine air conditioning maintenance from Connolly Electric & Mechanical can help prevent both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system running at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable scenarios is when an air conditioner smells like urine.

If your air conditioning equipment stinks like 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 in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that is like urine.

Another potential cause of the smell could be a blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away properly, but if the drain line becomes filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can produce a musty smell that can stink like urine.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Burning Plastic

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

Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the unit. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.

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

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinct aroma, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is put into natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As stated previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful 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, leave the building and contact your gas company or emergency services right away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should your AC 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 can be 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 take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.

To correct the issue, it's important to have a professional check out and clean your air conditioning system. They will 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 numerous reasons an air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. A second potential cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled mechanic inspect and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor persists after the cleaning and changing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to find 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 wanting to upgrade, Connolly Electric & Mechanical can help select the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide reliable, expert air conditioner installation in Cottonwood & Prescott.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

Another 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 it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, 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 avoid injury or damage to your home.

A Nasty Odor Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at Connolly Electric & Mechanical

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, contact the cooling experts at Connolly Electric & Mechanical. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning troubles through the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Cottonwood & Prescott!