When your air conditioner starts putting out strange or gross odors, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system can lead to serious damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you’re smelling, the cause might be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a sign of a harmful problem, such as a natural gas leak.

At ACE Solutions, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something peculiar coming from your cooling system, there’s a good chance our team of talented pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Hasbrouck Heights.

What does a certain smell billowing out of your air conditioning mean? Here are several common air conditioner smells and what they might mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is favorable to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a bad odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.

Another potential cause of the smell may be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system’s air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause low air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to 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 on a regular basis to promote good air quality and protect against the formation of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner reeks of rotten eggs, it may be caused by a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive 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 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, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it could be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside an air conditioner, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that resembles mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell might be a soiled air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from ACE Solutions can help prevent both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system working at its best!

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine

One of the most unpleasant scenarios is when your AC smells like urine.

If your air conditioning stinks 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 in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that some people describe as smelling 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 effectively, but if the drain line becomes clogged 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.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and emit a smell like burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s worthwhile to call 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 your home. Natural gas has a distinctive smell, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is put into natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As mentioned previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and requires immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, get everyone out of the building and phone your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, this could be a sign of 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 disgusting odor that can be described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.

Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck in the air conditioning system. This often is possible if an animal such as a mouse or bird is trapped inside the unit and dies.

To fix the issue, it’s worthwhile to have a professional inspect and clean your air conditioning system. They will be able to determine the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons a home’s AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. Another possible cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s beneficial to have a skilled tech examine and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor continues after the cleaning and replacing of 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, ACE Solutions can help locate the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer dependable, professional air conditioner installation in Hasbrouck Heights.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be the result of a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

An additional possible reason for the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that is like 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 hazardous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your home.

Weird Smells Coming from Your Cooling? Call the Pros at ACE Solutions

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, contact the cooling professionals at ACE Solutions. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles over the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Hasbrouck Heights!