When your air conditioner starts spewing odd or funky odors, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner may lead to additional damage to your AC 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. In other cases, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a warning of an unsafe situation, such as a natural gas leak.

At Halverson Brothers Inc, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something peculiar coming from your AC, you can bet that our team of qualified specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Menomonie and western Wisconsin.

What does a particular smell wafting from your cooling system mean? Here are some common air conditioner odors and what they may mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

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

Another potential explanation for the stench of dirty feet could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can result in substandard air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To correct 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 routinely to ensure good air quality and protect against the growth of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your reeks of rotten eggs, it could be the result of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinct 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 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, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services immediately.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your cooling system emits a smell like mildew, it could be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside a cooling system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that resembles mildew.

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

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Halverson Brothers Inc can help avoid 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!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable scenarios is when an air conditioner smells like urine.

If your air conditioner smells like urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One likely cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that it similar to urine.

Another potential 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 properly, but if the drain line becomes filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical problem with the unit. After a while, the electrical elements 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 unit. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and result in a smell like burning plastic.

If you smell burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s essential to contact a professional right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is put into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As stated 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.

Your AC Smells Like Fish

When your air conditioner 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 is conducive to the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a strong odor that is sometimes 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 stuck within the air conditioning system. This often is possible if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.

To solve the issue, it’s important to have a professional check out and clean your HVAC system. They should be able to identify the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons your AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a clogged air filter. One other possible cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s beneficial to have a skilled tech examine and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor continues after the cleaning and changing of the air filter, it’s best to reach back out to a professional to find and repair any persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Halverson Brothers Inc can help find the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide dependable, expert air conditioner installation in Menomonie and western Wisconsin.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be the result of 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.

Another possible source of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, it’s important to shut down your air conditioning system as soon as possible 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.

A Nasty Odor Coming from Your Cooling? Contact the Experts at Halverson Brothers Inc

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it simply on your own, contact the cooling specialists at Halverson Brothers Inc. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning concerns throughout the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Menomonie and western Wisconsin!