When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or funky smells, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner could lead to additional damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you’re smelling, the root of the problem 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 a hazardous situation, including a natural gas leak.

At Air Current AC & Heat, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something odd coming from your AC, you can bet that our team of skilled pros has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Houston.

What does a specific odor wafting coming from your air conditioning mean? Here are a few frequent air conditioner smells and what they may mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it could be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is favorable to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can cause a foul odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.

Another likely reason for the smell might be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can cause low air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To fix this issue, it’s important to have a quality service tech 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 ensure good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner reeks of rotten eggs, it could be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a recognizable odor, often described as smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur, which is added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak can be extraordinarily 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 immediately.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your AC is giving off an odor like mildew, it may be due to a buildup 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 odor that resembles mildew.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a soiled air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can lead to poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Air Current AC & Heat 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 working at its best!

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable situations is when an air conditioner 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 accumulation of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that it similar to urine.

Another possible cause of the scent of urine could be a clogged 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 accumulate inside the unit. This can produce a musty smell that resembles urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning unit smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical issue with the unit. After some time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, which can produce a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible reason for 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 become hot and result in a smell similar to burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your air conditioner, it’s worthwhile to phone a professional right away.

Your AC Smells Like Gas

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

As we said before, 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, evacuate the building and phone your gas company or emergency services straight away.

Your AC Smells Like Fish

If your AC smell like fish, it could be due to 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 foul odor that is sometimes 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 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 fix the issue, it’s important to have a professional examine and clean your air conditioning system. They should be able to determine the source of the smell and take the correct steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons a home’s air conditioning system smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a plugged air filter. Another possible cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s beneficial to have a skilled mechanic inspect and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor continues after the cleaning and exchanging the air filter, it’s best to reach back out to a professional to diagnose and repair any hidden issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are wanting to upgrade, Air Current AC & Heat can help select the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Houston.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

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

An additional possible source of the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can produce a burning smell that is like chemicals or burning plastic.

If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical problem, it’s important to shut off 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 home.

Weird Smells Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at Air Current AC & Heat

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, call the cooling experts at Air Current AC & Heat. We have years of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning troubles throughout the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Houston!