When your air conditioner starts emitting strange or funky smells, it is a good idea to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioner can lead to serious damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the smell, the culprit might be bacteria or fungus in the system. Other times, it could also signal something mechanically wrong with the AC. Some smells are a sign of a hazardous problem, like a natural gas leak.

At Miller Climate Control LLC, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something odd coming from your cooling system, there's a good chance 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 Georgetown.

What does a certain smell coming coming from your AC mean? Here are several frequent air conditioner smells and what they might mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it might be because of a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture builds inside the unit, it can establish an environment that is beneficial to the spread of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a bad odor that is often described as smelling like dirty feet.

Another likely cause of the stench of dirty feet might be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system's air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other contaminants, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that resembles feet.

To solve 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 exchange the air filter regularly to provide good air quality and protect against the formation of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner reeks of 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 because of a substance added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak is 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 right away.

Your AC Smells Like Mildew

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

Another possible explanation for the smell might be a clogged air filter. When the air filter becomes clogged, it can cause poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Miller Climate Control LLC can help avoid both of these issues, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system running at its best!

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioning equipment reeks of urine, it could could be caused by multiple factors. One likely cause is a accumulation of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a damp environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that some people describe as smelling like urine.

Another potential cause of the smell could be a blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away effectively, but if the drain line becomes filled with debris, it can cause water to back up and accumulate inside the unit. This can generate a musty smell that can stink like urine.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioner smells like burning plastic, it might be because of an electrical concern with the unit. After a while, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or break, which can create a burning smell that resembles plastic.

Another possible 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 heat up and cause a smell like burning plastic.

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

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioning 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 recognizable smell, often described as smelling of rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is incorporated into natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As mentioned previously, 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, evacuate the building and phone your gas company or emergency services straight away.

Your AC Smells Like Fish

When your air conditioning equipment smell like fish, it could be due to a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that promotes the growth of bacteria and mold. This can cause a strong odor that is often described as smelling like fish or, as mentioned earlier, it also can result in a smell like dirty feet.

Another potential cause of the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material caught inside the air conditioning system. This often is possible if an animal such as a mouse or bird is trapped inside the unit and dies.

To solve the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional inspect and clean your cooling system. They should be able to determine the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

Your AC Smells Like Vinegar

There could be numerous reasons an air conditioner smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a plugged air filter. A second potential cause of the smell may be a refrigerant leak. Sometimes after the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is described as smelling of vinegar.

To fix the issue, it's essential to have a skilled tech examine and clean your air conditioning.  If the odor continues after the cleaning and changing of the air filter, it's best to reach back out to a professional to diagnose and repair any underlying issues with your air conditioning. Or, the tech can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are looking to upgrade, Miller Climate Control LLC can help select the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We deliver trustworthy, expert air conditioner installation in Georgetown.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioning unit, it could be the result of 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.

An additional possible source of the smell could be an issue with the electrical wiring or components inside the air conditioning system. This can result in 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 down 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 avoid injury or damage to your house.

Strange Smell Coming from the Air Conditioning? Contact the Experts at Miller Climate Control LLC

If your air conditioner stinks and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, contact the cooling specialists at Miller Climate Control LLC. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of HVAC systems. Our crew has fixed a multitude of air conditioning concerns over the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Georgetown!