When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or funky aromas, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Disregarding unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner could lead to serious damage to your air conditioning or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on what you're smelling, the cause might be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are a sign of a dangerous situation, such as a natural gas leak.

At Luikart Heating & Cooling, 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 professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the first call for air conditioning repair in Newark.

What does a particular smell billowing out of your air conditioning mean? Here are several frequent air conditioner odors and what they may mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it may be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus in the unit. When moisture accumulates inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is conducive to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a foul odor that is often described as smelling like feet.

Another possible cause of the stench of dirty feet might 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 resembles feet.

To correct this issue, 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 regularly to promote good air quality and protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner stinks like rotten eggs, it might be the result of 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 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 allow gas to escape the area, evacuate the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.

Your AC 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 an air conditioner, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty stench that resembles mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell may be a soiled 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 Luikart Heating & Cooling can help avoid both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system operating at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

One of the most unpleasant situations is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.

If your air conditioning smells like urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One likely cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that can promote bacterial growth. The bacteria can emit a foul odor that it similar to urine.

Another potential cause of the stink could be a plugged 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 collect inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that is sometimes described as smelling of urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your AC smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical problem with the unit. Over time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or bust, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible root cause of 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 get hot and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.

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

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, it could be due to a natural gas leak in the unit or in another part of your home. Natural gas has a distinctive smell, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is added to natural gas so that it is easily detectable.

As we said before, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous 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, leave the building and call your gas company or emergency services straight away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

When 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 is sometimes described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can create a smell like dirty feet.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught within the air conditioning system. This often can happen if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes 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 identify the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons an AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a plugged air filter. A second possible cause of the smell could 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 essential to have a skilled tech look at and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor persists after the cleaning and replacing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to identify and repair any underlying 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, Luikart Heating & Cooling can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide trustworthy, professional air conditioner installation in Newark.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is emitting out of your air conditioning equipment, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical scent that some people describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

Another possible reason for the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or parts inside the air conditioning system. This can cause a burning smell that resembles chemicals or burning plastic.

If you think your system has a refrigerant leak or an electrical concern, 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 dangerous 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 Luikart Heating & Cooling

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, reach out to the cooling experts at Luikart Heating & Cooling. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning troubles through the years—including weird smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Newark!