What's That Smell? Common Causes of AC Odors

Woman plugging her nose

A smelly air conditioner is the last thing you want to deal with after getting home or waking up. Air conditioning units emit strange smells when they have problems, and you shouldn’t postpone fixing yours if you smell a foul odor. Here are some possible strange smells from your AC system in Pinellas Park, FL, and what to do about them:

Sweaty Feet

If your air conditioner smells like sweaty feet, you’re probably dealing with a dirty system. It often starts when the AC system fails to drain correctly. The smell of sweaty feet originates from the pooling of water as well as the debris and dirt accumulation in the system.

Exhaust Fumes

The smell of exhaust fumes is often a sign of fluid leaks from a warm part of the AC system. The fluid then steams and produces exhaust-like odors. It’s best to shut off the air conditioner and contact your AC repair expert to check the system.

Rotten Eggs

A rotten or foul AC smell often comes from dead rodents in the system. Birds and insects can nest in the ductwork, leaving your AC system smelling like rotten eggs once they die. Stuck or dying animals can damage your air conditioner; regular cleaning helps eliminate the odor and protect the system.


A burning smell can signify various air conditioning issues, such as an overheating motor, frayed wiring or other mechanical problems. The smell of gun powder might indicate a short circuit in the air conditioner. Turn off the AC system as soon as you notice a burning odor or gun powder and call for professional help as trying a DIY repair can be risky.

Rather than ignoring odd smells, you should consult an HVAC professional. One of our professionals can explain the problem and address it. Call Viking Air today to schedule quality and affordable air conditioning services.

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