When your air conditioner starts emitting strange or funky aromas, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner can 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 root of the problem might be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a warning of a harmful situation, including a natural gas leak.

At Halverson Brothers Inc, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something peculiar coming from your air conditioner, there's a good chance our team of skilled specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Menomonie and western Wisconsin.

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

Your AC Smells Like Feet

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

Another potential cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other debris, it can lead to low air quality and a musty smell that resembles 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 promote good air quality and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner stinks like rotten eggs, it may be because 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, make everyone leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

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

Another possible explanation for the smell may be a dirty air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Halverson Brothers 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 distressing situations is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.

If your air conditioning equipment reeks of urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. 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 damp environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that is like urine.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away effectively, but if the drain line becomes stopped up by debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can generate 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, this could indicate an electrical concern with the unit. After some time, the electrical components 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 lodged in the the air conditioner. If something foreign gets caught in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.

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

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner 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 smell, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because this scent is incorporated into natural gas to make sure that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned before, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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, get everyone out of the building and phone your gas company or emergency services straight away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

If your air conditioner smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture produces an environment that promotes the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a foul odor that can be described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can cause a smell like dirty feet.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck within 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 solve the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional check out and clean your HVAC system. They can identify the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons a home's air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a plugged air filter. A second likely cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can generate a chemical odor that resembles 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 exchanging 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 mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Halverson Brothers Inc can help locate the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver reliable, professional air conditioner installation in Menomonie and western Wisconsin.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Chemicals

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

An additional possible source of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or hardware 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 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 protect against injury or damage to your house.

Weird Smells Coming from Your AC? Contact the Experts at Halverson Brothers Inc

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