When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or gross odors, it is necessary to take notice because it could be a sign of a major 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 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 AC. Some smells are a warning of a dangerous situation, like a natural gas leak.

At Speedy Air Conditioning, we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something weird coming from your cooling system, there's a good chance our team of talented specialists has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Naples.

What does a particular smell coming out of your air conditioning mean? Here are some common air conditioner smells and what they may mean:

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Feet

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

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

To fix this issue, 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 change the air filter regularly to ensure good air quality and restrict the formation of bacteria and fungus.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner reeks of rotten eggs, it may be due to 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 can be 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 at once.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

If your air conditioner smells like mildew, it might be due to a accumulation of moisture inside the unit. When moisture accumulates inside a cooling system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that resembles mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell might be a clogged air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.

Annual air conditioning maintenance from Speedy Air Conditioning can help prevent both of these problems, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a terrific way to keep your system working at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioner reeks of urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One potential cause is a buildup of bacteria or mold in the your cooling system. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can create a foul odor that resembles urine.

Another feasible 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 choked with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that resembles urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning unit smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be an electrical issue with the unit. After a while, the electrical parts in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a foreign object lodged in the unit. If something foreign gets stuck in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and emit a smell similar to burning plastic.

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

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like gas, it could be due to 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 an odor is incorporated into natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As stated earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY harmful and requires 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 right away.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Fish

If your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture causes an environment that promotes 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 create 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 is possible if an animal such as a mouse or bird gets trapped inside the unit and dies.

To solve the issue, it's often necessary to have a professional check out and clean your air conditioning system. They can identify the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and prevent the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons your AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a dirty air filter. A second likely cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can make a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's essential 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 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, Speedy Air Conditioning can help find the right unit to fit your home’s needs. We offer dependable, professional air conditioner installation in Naples.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning unit, it could be caused by a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

An additional possible source of the smell could be a problem with the electrical wiring or parts 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 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.

Strange Smell Coming from Your Cooling? Contact the Experts at Speedy Air Conditioning

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it quickly on your own, call the cooling experts at Speedy Air Conditioning. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of cooling systems. Our crew has fixed many air conditioning concerns over the years—including funky smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Naples!