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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and operating correctly, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything strange. Peculiar air conditioner noises and odd smells are a clue that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is past its prime or you haven’t had service completed recently, they can be an obvious sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Perry.

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, especially a chemical scent, isn’t a good sign. You may also observe your:

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

These sweet, chemical smells are regularly a clue that your air conditioner is suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system relies on this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can crack over time.

4 Signs You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Aside from the odd smell, here are four other clues that you are dealing with a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is operating.
  2. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your residence cold or having your desired temperature.
  4. Higher energy expenses.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak requires experienced assistance from a heating and cooling company like Gillman Heating and Air. Your cooling technician will locate and mend the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Repairing a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages assembled by HomeAdvisor. Your exact cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how long it takes to repair.

If your air conditioner was installed early than 2010, it’s likely it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made because of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Consequently, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be wisest 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 significant chance you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be toxic in large amounts.

How You Can Solve It

If you detect a sulfur or rotten egg odor, we recommend:

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who contact us to report this situation frequently share their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s running. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently linked to a dirty evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Excess water can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most common in locations where you turn on heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling later in the day.

How to Solve It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to routinely replace your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Gillman Heating and Air. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, as standing water can also lead to nasty odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it could be caused by several situations, such as:

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

How to Fix It

Inspect your filter first. If you haven’t put in a new one within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, reach Gillman Heating and Air at 478-202-3076.

5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If you’re dealing with an air conditioner burning smell or that your air conditioner smells like fish, there could be a couple of things wrong. These include:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be inspected immediately to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, shut it off and reach us at 478-202-3076 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why it’s important to have a specialist like Gillman Heating and Air examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Professionals Can Take Care of Weird Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

You deserve to be comfortable in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 478-202-3076. We’ll determine the trouble quickly and take care of it at a fair price.