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

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

At GLR Mechanical, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something weird coming from your air conditioner, 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 Wilkes Barre and Scranton.

What does a certain smell coming coming from your AC 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 could be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the system. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can create an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a foul odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.

Another likely cause of an odor of stinky feet might 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 it similar to the smell of feet.

To fix this dilemma, 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 replace the air filter on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and restrict the growth of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning unit reeks of 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, which 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 at once.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your cooling system emits a smell like mildew, it may be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside a cooling system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that it similar to mildew.

Another possible explanation for the smell may be a clogged air filter. When 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 GLR Mechanical can help avoid both of these problems, 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 scenarios is when your AC smells like urine.

If your air conditioning equipment smells like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One potential cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. 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 it similar to urine.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a plugged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away effectively, but if the drain line becomes choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that resembles urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical issue with the unit. After a while, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and cause a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s worthwhile to call a professional right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Gas

If your AC 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 recognizable aroma, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is put into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned previously, 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 contact your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.

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 foul odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.

Another potential cause of 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 often necessary to have a professional check out and clean your cooling system. They should be able to find the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons an air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a plugged air filter. Another potential cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s beneficial to have a skilled mechanic look at 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 diagnose and repair any persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, GLR Mechanical can help locate the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Wilkes Barre and Scranton.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming 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 aroma that is often described 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 it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.

If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, 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 dangerous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your home.

A Nasty Odor Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at GLR Mechanical

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, call the cooling professionals at GLR Mechanical. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Wilkes Barre and Scranton!