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

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

At Fleming Heating & Air Conditioning Inc, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something weird coming from your air conditioner, you can bet that our team of skilled specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in South Beloit and Belvidere.

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

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

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

Another possible explanation for the smell could be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can lead to substandard air quality and a musty smell that resembles 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 change the air filter on a regular basis to provide good air quality and restrict the formation of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner stinks like rotten eggs, it might be due to 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, that is added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak is a situation that 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 might be due to a buildup of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside a cooling system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that it similar to mildew.

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

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Fleming Heating & Air Conditioning Inc can help prevent both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system running at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioning equipment reeks of urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One possible cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen when moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that resembles urine.

Another possible 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 properly, but if the drain line becomes clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can produce a musty smell that can stink like urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets stuck 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 cooling system, it’s worthwhile to call a professional right away.

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like gas, it could be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive smell, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is put into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As stated before, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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 straight away.

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 creates an environment that fosters the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a strong 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 stuck inside the air conditioning system. This often can take place if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.

To fix the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional examine and clean your HVAC 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.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons an air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. One other likely cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled tech look at and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor persists 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, Fleming Heating & Air Conditioning Inc can help locate the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, expert air conditioner installation in South Beloit and Belvidere.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

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

One other possible reason for the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that resembles 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 immediately and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be harmful and may require immediate attention to avoid injury or damage to your residence.

Weird Smells Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at Fleming Heating & Air Conditioning Inc

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, call the cooling specialists at Fleming Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning problems throughout the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in South Beloit and Belvidere!