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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and working correctly, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything strange. Unusual air conditioner noises and strange smells are a hint that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had a tune-up scheduled within the last year, they can be a clear sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Brookfield.

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 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 has a refrigerant leak. Your system relies on this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can crack as time goes on.

4 Hints You Have a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your house comfortable or having your desired temperature.
  4. High electrical expenses.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak calls for experienced repairs from a heating and cooling company like Central Air LLC. Your cooling specialist will locate and fix the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak typically 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 many hours it needs to repair.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a good chance it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured because of its adverse effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be very 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 likely nothing wrong with it. But there’s a high chance you have a natural gas leak in your residence. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be toxic in big amounts.

How You Can Solve It

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

  • Shutting off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Leaving your home promptly.
  • Call your gas company immediately.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who contact us regarding this situation often share their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is often caused 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 common in locations where you use heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling later on.

How to Fix It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to regularly get a new air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with Central Air LLC. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, since stagnant water can also produce unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it could be the result of several issues, like:

  • A filthy filter
  • Too much condensation
  • Plugged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Solve 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 resolve the smell, call Central Air LLC at 203-357-5913.

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 a couple of things wrong. These entail:

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

Electrical issues should be checked quickly to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, shut it off and call us at 203-357-5913 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering ammonia odor means there could be mold present 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 well-being. That’s why you should have a pro like Central Air LLC examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Specialists Can Take Care 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 need relief from your stinky air conditioner, contact us at 203-357-5913. We’ll determine the trouble quickly and resolve it at a reasonable.