When your air conditioner starts emitting weird or gross aromas, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system could lead to additional damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the root of the problem might be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are even indicative of a hazardous problem, like a natural gas leak.

At Covington Air Systems, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something peculiar coming from your AC, there’s a good chance our team of talented pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Covington.

What does a certain smell coming from your cooling system mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner smells and what they might mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

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

Another potential reason for the stench of dirty feet could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in low air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To fix this issue, it’s important to have a professional 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 prevent the development of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your stinks like rotten eggs, it could be due to 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, that 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.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your cooling system emits a smell like mildew, it may be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside the air conditioning system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that resembles mildew.

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

Routine air conditioning maintenance from Covington Air Systems can help prevent both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system operating at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

One of the most unpleasant things is when the air coming out of your HVAC system 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 cooling system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that is like urine.

Another potential cause of the scent of urine could be a clogged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away correctly, but if the drain line becomes clogged 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 concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, 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 caught in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.

If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s important to phone a professional right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a recognizable odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is added to natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful 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 phone your gas company or emergency services right away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should your air conditioner smell like fish, you may have a situation where there’s a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that fosters 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 plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped in 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 worthwhile to have a professional examine and clean your air conditioning system. They will be able to identify the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons a home’s air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a plugged air filter. A second potential cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s essential to have a skilled tech examine 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 identify and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, Covington Air Systems can help select the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver trustworthy, expert air conditioner installation in Covington.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning equipment, 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.

An additional possible reason for the smell could be a problem 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 concern, it’s important to turn off your air conditioning system as soon as possible and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be harmful and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your home.

Strange Smell Coming from Your Cooling? Call the Pros at Covington Air Systems

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