6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Explained and How to Fix the Issue

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and running right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything strange. Unusual air conditioner noises and strange smells are a clue that something is up. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had a tune-up done recently, they can be a clear sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in McMurray.

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, particularly a chemical scent, isn’t a great sign. You could also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical odors are frequently a hint that your air conditioner is suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can crack over time.

4 Hints You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Aside from the weird smell, here are four other signs that you have a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your residence cold or achieving your programmed temperature.
  4. High energy bills.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak needs skilled repairs from a heating and cooling company like Kowalski Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Your cooling professional will find and fix the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

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

If your air conditioner was installed early than 2010, there’s a high probability it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured because of its adverse effects on the ozone layer. Because of this, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be smartest to do air conditioning installation in this situation.

2. Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, there’s probably nothing wrong with it. But there’s a significant likelihood 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 heavy concentrations.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Call your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who call us regarding this situation frequently report their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is usually created by a grubby evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Moisture can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most often seen in areas where you need heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Solve It

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

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it can be the result of several situations, like:

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

How to Solve 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, we recommend replacing it. If that doesn’t resolve the smell, reach Kowalski Heating, Cooling & Plumbing at 724-370-0141.

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 entail:

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

Electrical issues should be examined immediately to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, switch it off and call us at 724-370-0141 without delay.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why you should have a specialist like Kowalski Heating, Cooling & Plumbing look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Specialists Can Take Care of Strange Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be comfy in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are looking for relief from your noxious air conditioner, reach us at 724-370-0141. We’ll determine the problem quickly and take care of it at a competitive.