6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Explained and How to Solve Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and running correctly, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything weird. Unusual air conditioner noises and weird smells are a hint that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had service scheduled lately, they can be an obvious sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Greensburg.

Here are six of the top air conditioner smells and how you can fix 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 could also report your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents are frequently a clue that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system relies on this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can break out as time passes.

4 Signs You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Besides the weird smell, here are four other clues that you have 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. Trouble keeping your house cool or achieving your programmed temperature.
  4. High electrical costs.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak requires experienced support from a heating and cooling company like Wallpe Heating & Cooling. Your cooling pro will find and mend the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

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

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, there’s a high probability it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured due to its negative effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be smartest to schedule air conditioning installation in this situation.

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 chance 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 heavy concentrations.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Call your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who call us to report this situation 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 usually 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 typical in climates 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 method for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to frequently replace your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Wallpe Heating & Cooling. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, as stagnant water can also produce unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are dealing with air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it might be prompted by several problems, including:

  • A clogged filter
  • Extra condensation
  • Blocked condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Fix It

Check your filter first. If you haven’t replaced it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, we recommend replacing it. If that doesn’t fix the issue, reach Wallpe Heating & Cooling at 812-663-7252.

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 several things wrong. These include:

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

Electrical problems should be checked quickly to stop a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and call us at 812-663-7252 without delay.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why we recommend having a pro like Wallpe Heating & Cooling examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Professionals Can Get Rid of Odd Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

You deserve to be comfy in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are seeking relief from your noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 812-663-7252. We’ll figure out the problem quickly and fix it at a fair price.