6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Fix Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and operating right, it’s not normal to be smelling anything odd. Unexpected air conditioner noises and odd smells are a sign that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is past its prime or you haven’t had a tune-up done within the last year, they can be an obvious sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Huffman.

Here are six of the most common 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, particularly a chemical odor, isn’t a good sign. You might also observe your:

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

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

4 Signs You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your home cool or having your set temperature.
  4. Higher utility bills.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak needs professional repairs from a heating and cooling company like Air Houston Mechanical LLC. Your cooling pro will find and repair the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, per nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your total cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how many hours it requires to solve.

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, there’s a high probability it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being produced due to its negative effects on the ozone layer. Consequently, repairs can be very expensive so it may be best to consider air conditioning installation in this situation.

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 house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to alert you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be fatal in large amounts.

How You Can Solve It

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

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

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who reach us to report this problem frequently share their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s running. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently created by a dirty 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 climates where you use heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling later on.

How to Fix It

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

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it might be the result of several issues, like:

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

How to Fix It

Examine your filter first. If you haven’t replaced it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t fix the issue, contact Air Houston Mechanical LLC at 832-777-1521.

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 number of things wrong. These entail:

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

Electrical problems should be inspected quickly to avoid a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, turn it off and call us at 832-777-1521 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering ammonia odor means there may be mold present in your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell isn’t the mold itself, but the mycotoxins that mold produces.

How to Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why it’s important to have a professional like Air Houston Mechanical LLC check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Professionals Can Get Rid of Strange Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

You deserve to be comfy in your home and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are seeking relief from your noxious air conditioner, contact us at 832-777-1521. We’ll figure out the problem quickly and resolve it at a competitive.