6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Explained and How to Solve Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and working right, it’s not normal to be smelling anything strange. Peculiar air conditioner noises and strange smells are a clue that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had a tune-up completed recently, they can be an obvious sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Litchfield Park.

Here are six of the most frequent 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, specifically a chemical smell, isn’t a great sign. You could also observe your:

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

These sweet, chemical odors are often a clue that your air conditioner is suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system relies on this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can wear out as time goes on.

4 Hints You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

Besides the strange smell, here are four other clues that you are experiencing a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your house comfortable or achieving your desired temperature.
  4. Increasing electrical bills.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak requires experienced assistance from a heating and cooling company like Cooler Tymes LLC. Your cooling pro will pinpoint and repair the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak often 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 solve.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a good chance it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured due to its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be best to consider air conditioning installation in this instance.

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 probability you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be deadly in big amounts.

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Shutting off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home right away.
  • Call your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who contact us about this issue often mention their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also referred to as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently created by 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 areas where you need heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Repair It

The best method for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely replace your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Cooler Tymes LLC. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, because excess water can also result in unpleasant 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 the result of several situations, such as:

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

How to Repair It

Check 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 solve the problem, contact Cooler Tymes LLC at 623-208-6444.

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 needs lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical malfunctions.

Electrical malfunctions should be inspected right away to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and call us at 623-208-6444 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why we recommend having a pro like Cooler Tymes LLC check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Professionals Can Take Care of Strange Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be comfy in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are looking for relief from your stinky air conditioner, reach us at 623-208-6444. We’ll figure out the issue quickly and take care of it at a competitive.