When your air conditioner starts putting out unusual or funky odors, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a big problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your cooling system 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 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 Ohler & Holzhauer Inc., we have a nose for these sorts of things. If you smell something peculiar coming from your AC, there’s a good chance our team of skilled professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned a reputation as the premier company for air conditioning repair in Port Clinton.

What does a specific odor coming out of your cooling system mean? Here are some frequent air conditioner odors and what they could mean:

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Feet

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

Another likely cause of the stench of dirty feet may be a dirty air filter. When your HVAC system’s air filter becomes choked with dirt, dust and other particles, it can result in substandard air quality and a musty smell that bears a resemblance to feet.

To solve 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 on a regular basis to ensure good air quality and restrict the growth of bacteria and fungus.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioner stinks like rotten eggs, it might be caused by 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 a situation that is very dangerous and requires immediate attention. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off your air conditioning system, immediately open windows and doors to ventilate 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 could be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture forms inside the air conditioning system, it can foster the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty smell that resembles mildew.

Another possible reason for the smell may be a soiled air filter. Once the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that has a resemblance to mildew.

Routine air conditioning maintenance from Ohler & Holzhauer Inc. can help protect against both of these situations, because a good cleaning, inspection and filter change is a great way to keep your system operating at its best!

Your AC Smells Like Urine

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

If your air conditioning equipment stinks like urine, it could be traced back to a number of things. One possible cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the your HVAC. This can happen in the event that moisture accumulates in the system and creates a wet environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that is like 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 properly, but if the drain line becomes clogged with debris, it can cause water to back up and collect inside the unit. This can produce a musty smell that resembles urine.

Your AC Smells Like Burning Plastic

If your air conditioning system smells like burning plastic, a possible cause could be 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 unit. If something foreign gets trapped in the air conditioning system, it can become hot and cause a smell that reminds people of burning plastic.

If you notice something that smells like burning plastic coming from your cooling system, it’s essential to phone a professional right away.

Your AC Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioning 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 similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. That’s because a smell is incorporated into natural gas to make it easily detectable.

As we said earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY dangerous and requires 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 contact your gas company or emergency services right away.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

If your AC smell like fish, this could be a sign of 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 foul 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 can happen if an animal such as a mouse or bird becomes trapped inside the unit and dies.

To correct the issue, it’s worthwhile to have a professional examine and clean your HVAC system. They will be able to find the source of the smell and take the appropriate steps to remove any contaminants and keep the problem from recurring.

Why My Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

There could be several reasons an AC smells like vinegar. One possible cause is a clogged air filter. A second potential cause of the smell might be a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is similar to vinegar.

To fix the issue, it’s important to have a skilled specialist inspect 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 persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, the mechanic can tell you if your air conditioning should be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Ohler & Holzhauer Inc. can help find the ideal unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide trustworthy, skilled air conditioner installation in Port Clinton.

Your AC Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming from your air conditioning equipment, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. In a situation where the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical odor that is often described as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

Another possible source of the smell could be problems with the electrical wiring or elements 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 down 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 avoid injury or damage to your home.

A Nasty Odor Coming from Your AC? Contact the Experts at Ohler & Holzhauer Inc.

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, call the cooling specialists at Ohler & Holzhauer Inc.. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of air conditioning systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning concerns throughout the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Port Clinton!