When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or gross odors, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner may lead to further damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the cause of the odor, the cause might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a sign of an unsafe situation, including a natural gas leak.

At Custom Air Systems Inc, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your cooling system, you can bet that our team of qualified pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Port St. Lucie.

What does a certain smell wafting out of your air conditioning mean? Here are some common air conditioner smells and what they could mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

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

Another possible explanation for the smell could be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other debris, it can result in low air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To solve this problem, 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 exchange the air filter on a regular basis to provide good air quality and restrict the growth of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner reeks of 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 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, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your AC emits a smell like mildew, it might be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside the air conditioning 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 could be a soiled air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Custom Air Systems Inc can help avoid both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system working at its best!

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioning stinks like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One potential cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that is like urine.

Another feasible cause of the scent of urine could be a plugged drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away correctly, but if the drain line becomes filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical problem with the unit. After a while, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and emit a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s essential to phone 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 similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is put into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

As we said previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and requires immediate attention. Should 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 straight away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

If your air conditioning equipment 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 sometimes 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 caught within 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 solve the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional examine and clean your cooling system. They should be able to find the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons your air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a clogged air filter. A second likely cause of the smell could be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled tech inspect 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 find and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Custom Air Systems Inc can help locate the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver reliable, skilled air conditioner installation in Port St. Lucie.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

One other possible cause of the smell could be a problem with the electrical wiring or hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.

If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, it's important to shut 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 avoid injury or damage to your home.

Strange Smell Coming from the Air Conditioning? Call the Pros at Custom Air Systems Inc

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, call the cooling specialists at Custom Air Systems Inc. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning problems over the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Port St. Lucie!