When your air conditioner starts spewing strange or gross aromas, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning may lead to further damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the cause of the odor, the culprit might be bacteria or fungus in the system. On the other hand, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a sign of an unsafe problem, like a natural gas leak.

At Total Assurance AC & Heating, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, there’s a good chance our team of skilled professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Corpus Christi.

What does a particular smell billowing from your cooling system mean? Here are some typical air conditioner aromas and what they might mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it could be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can create an environment that is favorable to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can produce a bad odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another possible cause of the stench of dirty feet might be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause low air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To correct 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 regularly to ensure good air quality and prevent the development of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning unit stinks like rotten eggs, it might be caused by a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a recognizable 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 allow gas to escape the area, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your AC emits a smell like mildew, it may be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside a cooling 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 could be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Total Assurance AC & Heating can help avoid both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system running at its best!

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable situations is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.

If your air conditioning stinks like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One possible cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your cooling 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 resembles urine.

Another feasible 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 choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Burning Plastic

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

Another possible root 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 get hot and emit a smell like burning plastic.

If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s essential to call a professional right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner 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 distinctive odor, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is added to natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As we said earlier, 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, evacuate the building and contact your gas company or emergency services as soon as possible.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

When your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, you may have a situation where there’s a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces 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 potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught in the air conditioning system. This often can happen if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.

To fix the issue, it’s worthwhile to have a professional examine and clean your HVAC system. They can find the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons your air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a plugged air filter. A second likely cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.

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

If you are planning to upgrade, Total Assurance AC & Heating can help select the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Corpus Christi.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

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

Another possible cause of the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, 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 dangerous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your house.

Weird Smells Coming from Your Cooling? Call the Pros at Total Assurance AC & Heating

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, call the cooling specialists at Total Assurance AC & Heating. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning problems over the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Corpus Christi!