When your air conditioner starts spewing unusual or gross odors, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Dismissing 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 cause may be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also indicate something mechanically wrong with the air conditioner. Some smells are a sign of an unsafe situation, such as a natural gas leak.

At Brookwood Inc, we are skilled at diagnosing and fixing these type of problems. If you smell something peculiar coming from your cooling system, chances are our team of qualified specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned our reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Newton.

What does a specific odor billowing coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are a few typical air conditioner smells and what they could mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

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

Another possible explanation for the stench of dirty feet could be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can cause substandard air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To correct this dilemma, 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 replace the air filter regularly to promote good air quality and restrict the formation of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your 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, which is 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 allow gas to escape the area, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

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

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

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Brookwood Inc can help avoid both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system working at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioning stinks like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One potential cause is a collection 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 some people describe as smelling 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 properly, but if the drain line becomes stopped up by 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.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical problem with the unit. After some time, the electrical elements 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 that somehow got in the HVAC system. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and cause a smell like burning plastic.

If you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s essential to call 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 incorporated into natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As mentioned previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous 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 phone your gas company or emergency services straight away.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

Should 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 causes an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a foul odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.

Another plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught in 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 correct the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional examine and clean your HVAC system. They can determine the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons your air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a dirty air filter. Another possible cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's beneficial to have a skilled specialist inspect and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor lingers after the cleaning and replacing of 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, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, Brookwood Inc can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Newton.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning unit, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

One other possible source of the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can produce 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 hazardous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your residence.

A Nasty Odor Coming from Your AC? Call the Pros at Brookwood Inc

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it easily on your own, call the cooling experts at Brookwood Inc. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning problems throughout the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Newton!