When your air conditioner starts spewing strange or unappealing smells, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a major problem. Ignoring unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning could lead to serious damage to your AC 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. On the other hand, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are even indicative of a harmful problem, such as a natural gas leak.

At LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc., we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something odd coming from your cooling system, you can bet that our team of skilled specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Shamokin and Sunbury.

What does a specific odor billowing coming from your cooling system mean? Here are some common air conditioner smells and what they might mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be due to a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture collects 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 likely explanation for an odor of stinky feet might be a dirty air filter. If an air filter becomes filled with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can lead to low air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of 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 exchange the air filter regularly to ensure good air quality and prevent the formation of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your reeks of rotten eggs, it may be caused by 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, get everyone out of the building and call your gas company or emergency services right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Mildew

If your AC is giving off an odor like mildew, it could be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside a cooling system, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that it similar to mildew.

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

Annual air conditioning maintenance from LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc. can help avoid both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a very good way to keep your system operating at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

One of the most undesirable scenarios 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 potential cause is a accumulation 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 create a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.

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

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, this could indicate an electrical issue with the unit. Over time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, 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 get hot and cause a smell similar to burning plastic.

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

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your AC smells like gas, it could be because of a natural gas leak in the unit or in the surrounding area. Natural gas has a recognizable aroma, often described as smelling similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because an odor is put into natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As we said previously, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful 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, evacuate the building and contact your gas company or emergency services straight away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Fish

Should your air conditioner smell like fish, it could be due to 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 strong odor that is sometimes described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material trapped inside 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 fix the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional check out and clean your HVAC system. They should be able to find the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be multiple reasons your AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause of the smell could be a clogged air filter. Another likely cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that resembles vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled mechanic look at 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 persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning ought to be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc. can help locate the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver reliable, professional air conditioner installation in Shamokin and Sunbury.

Your AC 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 odor that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

One other possible reason for the smell could be something wrong with the electrical wiring or hardware inside the air conditioning system. This can produce 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 turn off 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 prevent injury or damage to your home.

Weird Smells Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc.

If your air conditioner reeks and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, reach out to the cooling experts at LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc.. We have plenty of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns over the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Shamokin and Sunbury!