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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and working right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything weird. Abnormal air conditioner noises and odd smells are a hint that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is past its prime or you haven’t had a tune-up completed lately, they can be a clear sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Paxinos.

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

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, specifically a chemical odor, isn’t a good sign. You could also observe your:

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

These sweet, chemical odors are typically a hint that your air conditioner is suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system needs this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can wear out over time.

4 Signs You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Aside from the odd smell, here are four other clues 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. It’s hard keeping your residence cool or having your set temperature.
  4. Increasing energy bills.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak requires skilled repairs from a heating and cooling company like LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc.. Your cooling specialist will locate and fix the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Repairing a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, per nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your precise cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it needs to repair.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, it’s likely it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured as a result of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Because of this, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be best to do 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 probability you have a natural gas leak in your home. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to alert you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be fatal in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Shutting off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Leaving your home right away.
  • Call your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who reach us about this issue usually report their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s on. Also referred to as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently created by a filthy 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 climates where you turn on heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling during the afternoon.

How to Fix It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to routinely change your air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc.. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, since excess water can also result in noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

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

  • A clogged filter
  • Too much condensation
  • Clogged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Fix It

Check your filter first. If you haven’t put in a new one within the last three months and can’t see light through it, it’s time to replace it. If that doesn’t solve the issue, reach LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc. at 570-648-0748.

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 include:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be checked quickly to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, shut it off and contact us at 570-648-0748 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why it’s important to have a specialist like LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc. examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Pros Can Get Rid of Strange Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be comfortable in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are seeking relief from your smelly air conditioner, give us a call at 570-648-0748. We’ll determine the problem quickly and take care of it at a competitive.