6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Repair the Issue

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and running properly, it’s not normal to be smelling anything weird. Peculiar air conditioner noises and weird smells are a hint that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is past its prime or you haven’t had a tune-up scheduled recently, they can be a clear sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Genoa.

Here are six of the most common air conditioner smells and how you can repair them.

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, particularly a chemical odor, isn’t a positive sign. You may also notice your:

  • Air conditioner smells like paint thinner
  • Home air conditioner smells sweet

These sweet, chemical scents are regularly a sign that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can break out as time passes.

4 Hints You Have a Refrigerant Leak

In addition to the strange smell, here are four other hints that you are experiencing a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is on.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your home cold or having your set temperature.
  4. Higher utility expenses.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak needs skilled support from a heating and cooling company like Assured Appliance and Heating & Air. Your cooling pro will pinpoint and mend the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your precise cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how many hours it requires to fix.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a good chance it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being produced as a result of its negative effects on the ozone layer. Consequently, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be best to consider air conditioning installation in this circumstance.

2. Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, there’s possibly nothing wrong with it. But there’s a high likelihood you have a natural gas leak in your home. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be deadly in large amounts.

How You Can Repair It

If you notice a sulfur or rotten egg odor, we advise:

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home right away.
  • Contacting your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who call us about this issue often mention their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s on. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is typically linked to a dirty evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Condensation can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most typical in locations where you use heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling later on.

How to Fix It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to regularly get a new air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Assured Appliance and Heating & Air. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, because stagnant water can also produce unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are dealing with air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it might be prompted by several situations, like:

  • A dirty filter
  • Excess condensation
  • Clogged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Fix It

Examine your filter first. If you haven’t changed it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, call Assured Appliance and Heating & Air at 847-306-8990.

5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If you’re noticing an air conditioner burning smell or that your air conditioner smells like fish, there could be several things wrong. These involve:

  • Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor.
  • Motor that requires lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical issue.

Electrical issues should be checked quickly to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and reach us at 847-306-8990 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A powerful ammonia odor means there could be mold flourishing inside your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell isn’t the mold itself, but the mycotoxins that mold makes.

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why it’s important to have a professional like Assured Appliance and Heating & Air examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Professionals Can Take Care of Unpleasant Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

You deserve to be cozy in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are looking for relief from your smelly air conditioner, contact us at 847-306-8990. We’ll diagnose the trouble quickly and resolve it at a fair price.