When your air conditioner starts spewing strange or gross aromas, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system could lead to serious damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the cause of the odor, the culprit might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are a sign of a hazardous problem, like a natural gas leak.

At Durable Service, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, there’s a good chance our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Holdrege.

What does a particular smell billowing from your AC mean? Here are a few common air conditioner aromas and what they might mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

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

Another possible cause of an odor of stinky feet may be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other debris, it can cause low air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To fix this problem, it’s important to have a professional 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 routinely to provide good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning equipment reeks of rotten eggs, it might be caused by 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 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 at once.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your AC smells like mildew, it could be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside an air conditioner, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Another possible explanation for the smell might be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from Durable Service 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!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

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

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

Another possible cause of the stink could be a blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away correctly, but if the drain line becomes choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that resembles urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

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

Another possible reason for 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 result in a smell like burning plastic.

If you think you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s worthwhile to phone 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 the surrounding area. Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous and requires immediate attention. When 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, 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 foul odor that can be described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can create a smell like dirty feet.

Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck within the air conditioning system. This often can happen 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 inspect and clean your air conditioning system. They will be able to identify the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons an AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause might be a clogged air filter. A second likely cause of the smell could 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 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, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Durable Service can help select the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer reliable, expert air conditioner installation in Holdrege.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioner, it could be the result of a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that people sometimes 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 hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak or an electrical issue, it’s important to shut down your air conditioning system right away and contact a professional to inspect and repair the unit. Refrigerant leaks can be harmful and may require immediate attention to prevent injury or damage to your house.

A Nasty Odor Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at Durable Service

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, contact the cooling professionals at Durable Service. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning problems through the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Holdrege!