6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Fix the Problem

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and working correctly, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything odd. Unusual air conditioner noises and odd 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 completed within the last year, they can be a sure sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Montoursville.

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, specifically a chemical smell, isn’t a great sign. You might also report your:

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

These sweet, chemical smells are regularly a clue that your air conditioner is suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can break out over time.

4 Clues You Are Dealing with 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 runs.
  2. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your residence cool or having your desired temperature.
  4. Higher utility costs.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak calls for experienced assistance from a heating and cooling company like Airmen HVAC Service. Your cooling specialist will find and repair the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Repairing a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, per 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 early than 2010, there’s a high probability it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured because of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be very expensive so it may be wisest 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 high chance you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, since the gas can be deadly in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home as soon as possible.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who reach us to report this situation often report their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is typically created by 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 need heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling later on.

How to Repair It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to frequently get a new air filter and schedule regular air conditioning maintenance with Airmen HVAC Service. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, because standing water can also create nasty odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it could be caused by several situations, like:

  • A dirty filter
  • Extra condensation
  • Plugged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Repair It

Examine your filter first. If you haven’t put in a new one within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, reach Airmen HVAC Service at 570-322-3131.

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 entail:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be examined quickly to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, shut it off and contact us at 570-322-3131 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering ammonia odor means there might be mold spreading within 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 it’s important to have a pro like Airmen HVAC Service look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Pros Can Get Rid of Odd Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be cozy in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your smelly air conditioner, contact us at 570-322-3131. We’ll determine the issue quickly and fix it at a fair price.