6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Repair Them


When your air conditioner is fresh and running correctly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything odd. Peculiar air conditioner noises and strange smells are a hint that something is off. If your air conditioner is past its prime or you haven’t had service done recently, they can be an obvious sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Huffman.

Here are six of the most frequent air conditioner smells and how you can resolve them.

  1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals
    If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, specifically a chemical scent, isn’t a great sign. You could also observe your:
    • The air conditioner smells like paint thinner
    • The home air conditioner smells sweet

    These sweet, chemical odors are typically a sign 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 passes.

    4 Hints You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

    Aside from the weird smell, here are four other clues that you are dealing with a refrigerant leak.

    1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is on.
    2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
    3. It’s hard keeping your home comfortable or reaching your set temperature.
    4. Increasing utility expenses.

    How You Can Repair It

    A refrigerant leak requires professional support from a heating and cooling company like Air Houston Mechanical LLC. Your cooling technician will find and fix the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

    Resolving a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, per nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your exact cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it takes to solve it.

    If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, there’s a high probability it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured due to its adverse effects on the ozone layer. Because of this, repairs can be significantly 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 probably nothing wrong with it. But there’s a significant chance you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to alert you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be toxic in heavy concentrations.

    How You Can Fix It

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

    • Shutting off your gas supply.
    • Opening windows.
    • Evacuating your home promptly.
    • Contact your gas company without delay.
  3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty
    Individuals who reach us about this problem frequently say their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks, or a locker room when it’s running. Also referred to as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is typically created by a grubby evaporator coil that has mold, mildew, and bacteria buildup. Condensation can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most often seen in climates where you turn on the heating at night and during the morning before turning on the cooling during the afternoon.

    How to Solve It

    The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to frequently change your air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Air Houston Mechanical LLC. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing since stagnant water can also lead to unpleasant odors.

  4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
    If you are experiencing an air conditioner mildew smell or a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it could be caused by several issues, like:
    • A filthy filter
    • Extra condensation
    • Blocked condensate pan or drain line
    • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

    How to Repair It

    Check your filter first. If you haven’t replaced it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, it’s time to replace it. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, reach Air Houston Mechanical LLC at (832) 501-3419.

  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. This entails:
    • Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor.
    • The motor that requires lubrication.
    • Broken fan belt.
    • Electrical trouble.

    Electrical malfunctions should be examined immediately to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, switch it off and call us at (832) 501-3419 right away.

  6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee
    A strong ammonia odor means there might be mold present inside your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell isn’t the mold itself, but the mycotoxins that mold makes.

    How to Repair It

    Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why we recommend having a pro like Air Houston Mechanical LLC examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

    Our Professionals Can Get Rid of Weird Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

    You deserve to be comfy in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your stinky air conditioner, reach us at (832) 501-3419. We’ll figure out the problem quickly and fix it at a competitive.

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