When your air conditioner starts spewing unusual or gross smells, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner could lead to additional damage to your HVAC system or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the culprit might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a warning of a hazardous situation, including a natural gas leak.

At Franklin's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, chances are our team of skilled professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Oxford.

What does a certain smell wafting from your AC mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner odors and what they may mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can produce an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a foul odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can result in low air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To solve this unpleasant situation, 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 replace the air filter on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and prevent the formation of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning equipment stinks like rotten eggs, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinctive 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 very 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 at once.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your cooling system is giving off an odor like mildew, it may be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside an air conditioner, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that bears a resemblance to mildew.

Another possible explanation for the smell may 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.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Franklin's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc can help protect against 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!

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioner stinks like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One possible cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.

Another feasible cause of the smell 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 clogged 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.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical concern with the unit. Over time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can make a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible root cause of the smell could be a foreign object stuck in the the air conditioner. 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 smell burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s worthwhile to call a professional right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioning smells like gas, there could be a natural gas leak in the unit or in your home. Natural gas has a recognizable smell, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is put into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned before, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and calls for immediate attention. Should you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, open windows and doors to air out the home, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services straight away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should your AC smell like fish, this could be a sign of 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 possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught inside 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 fix the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional examine and clean your air conditioning system. They will be able to find the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons your air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. One other possible cause of the smell may 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 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 identify 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, Franklin's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc can help find the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide trustworthy, expert air conditioner installation in Oxford.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be the result of a refrigerant leak. If 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 reason for the smell could be a problem with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you believe there is a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, 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 prevent injury or damage to your residence.

Strange Smell Coming from the Air Conditioning? Call the Pros at Franklin's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, call the cooling specialists at Franklin's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning concerns over the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Oxford!