When your air conditioner starts emitting strange or unappealing aromas, it is important to take notice because it could be a sign of a significant problem. Dismissing unpleasant smells coming from your air conditioning can lead to further damage to your AC or even pose a risk to your health and safety.

Depending on the cause of the odor, the cause may be bacteria or fungus in the system. In other cases, it could also sign something mechanically wrong with the air conditioning system. Some smells are even indicative of a hazardous scenario, like a natural gas leak.

At Comfort Concepts Heating & Air Conditioning, we are experienced at getting to the root cause of stinky smells. If you smell something odd coming from your air conditioner, chances are our team of qualified professionals has smelled it, too—and fixed it! We’ve earned the reputation as the go-to team for air conditioning repair in Yukon.

What does a specific odor wafting from your cooling system mean? Here are several typical air conditioner odors and what they may mean:

Your AC Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner smells like feet, it can be caused by a buildup of bacteria or fungus inside of it. When moisture collects inside the unit, it can create an environment that is favorable to the development of bacteria and fungus. This can result in a bad odor that is often described as smelling like stinky feet.

Another likely explanation for the smell 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 poor air quality and a musty smell that it similar to the smell of feet.

To solve this issue, it's important to have a quality service tech 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 protect against the development of bacteria and fungus.

Your AC Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your air conditioning equipment stinks like rotten eggs, it could be because 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, that is added to it to make it easily detectable.

A natural gas leak can be very 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 immediately.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Mildew

If your cooling system smells like mildew, it might be due to a collection of moisture inside the unit. When moisture collects inside a cooling system, it can cultivate the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause a musty odor that bears a resemblance to mildew.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a dirty air filter. If the air filter becomes clogged, it can result in poor air quality and a musty smell that is similar to mildew.

Regular air conditioning maintenance from Comfort Concepts Heating & 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 distressing scenarios is when the air coming out of your HVAC system smells like urine.

If your air conditioning equipment reeks of urine, it could be due to a variety of factors. One potential cause is a collection of bacteria or mold in the air conditioning system. This can happen if moisture accumulates in the system and creates a moist environment that favorable for bacterial growth. The bacteria can produce a foul odor that resembles urine.

Another possible cause of the smell could be a blocked drain line. The condensation that forms inside the air conditioning unit needs to drain away correctly, but if the drain line becomes stopped up by debris, it can cause water to back up and build up inside the unit. This can create a musty smell that can stink like urine.

The Air Conditioning 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 some time, the electrical components in the air conditioning system can wear out or malfunction, which can produce 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 trapped in the air conditioning system, it can heat up and cause a smell like burning plastic.

If you smell burning plastic coming from your AC unit, it’s important to call 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 your home. Natural gas has a distinctive smell, 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 mentioned earlier, a natural gas leak can be VERY hazardous and needs 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 as soon as possible.

My Air Conditioner Smells Like Fish

When your air conditioner smell like fish, this could be a sign of a build-up of bacteria or mold in the unit. Moisture creates an environment that fosters 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 plausible explanation for the smell could be a dead animal or other biological material stuck 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 solve the issue, it's worthwhile to have a professional check out and clean your cooling system. They will be able to determine the source of the smell and take the proper steps to remove any contaminants and stop the problem from recurring.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Vinegar

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

To fix the issue, it's important to have a skilled mechanic look at 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 find and repair any persistent issues with your air conditioning. Or, they can tell you if your air conditioning needs to be replaced.

If you are planning to upgrade, Comfort Concepts Heating & Air Conditioning can help select the correct unit to fit your home’s needs. We provide dependable, professional air conditioner installation in Yukon.

The Air Conditioning Smells Like Chemicals

If the smell of chemicals is coming out of your air conditioner, it could be due to a refrigerant leak. If the refrigerant leaks, it can create a chemical aroma that people sometimes describe as smelling like chemicals or paint thinner, vinegar or acetone.

Another possible reason for the smell could be a problem with the electrical wiring or elements inside the air conditioning system. This can result in a burning smell that it similar to chemicals or burning plastic.

If you suspect 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 dangerous and may require immediate attention to protect against injury or damage to your home.

A Nasty Odor Coming from Your Cooling? Call the Pros at Comfort Concepts Heating & Air Conditioning

If your air conditioner smells nasty and you aren’t able to fix it smoothly on your own, contact the cooling experts at Comfort Concepts Heating & Air Conditioning. We have lots of experience working with a wide variety of AC systems. Our crew has fixed countless air conditioning concerns through the years—including strange smells. Call us today for quality AC repair in Yukon!