When your air conditioner starts emitting strange or gross smells, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system can 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. In other cases, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a sign of a harmful problem, such as a natural gas leak.

At The Frazier Company, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your AC, chances are our team of talented specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Omaha.

What does a certain smell coming coming from your AC mean? Here are some frequent air conditioner smells and what they could mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it may 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 beneficial to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a bad odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another likely reason for the stench of dirty feet could be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To fix this dilemma, 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 provide good air quality and restrict the formation of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning equipment stinks like rotten eggs, it might be the result of 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 because of a substance 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 air out the area, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner emits a smell like mildew, it might be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside a cooling system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that bears a resemblance to mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a soiled air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from The Frazier Company can help prevent both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system running at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioner 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 if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that resembles urine.

Another possible cause of the scent of urine 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 clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that resembles urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

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

Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object that somehow got in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can get hot and result in 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 contact a professional right away.

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinct aroma, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is added to natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

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

Your AC 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 causes an environment that promotes 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 cause 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 gets trapped inside the unit and dies.

To fix the issue, it's important to have a professional inspect and clean your cooling system. They will be able to find the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons your air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. Another potential cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled specialist inspect and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor lingers after the cleaning and changing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to find 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 planning to upgrade, The Frazier Company can help select the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Omaha.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning unit, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

An additional possible cause of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, it's important to shut down 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 residence.

Strange Smell Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at The Frazier Company

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, call the cooling specialists at The Frazier Company. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns over the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Omaha!