6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Repair the Issue

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and running properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything odd. Abnormal air conditioner noises and strange smells are a hint that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had maintenance scheduled lately, they can be a sure sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Tucker.

Here are six of the top 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, particularly a chemical smell, isn’t a positive sign. You might also report 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 experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system relies on this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can wear out over time.

4 Hints You Are Experiencing 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 cooling.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your home cold or having your programmed temperature.
  4. Higher electrical costs.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak requires experienced assistance from a heating and cooling company like ACS Heating and Air Conditioning. Your cooling technician will pinpoint and repair the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, per nationwide averages compiled by HomeAdvisor. Your exact cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how many hours it takes to fix.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a good chance it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being produced as a result of its negative effects on the ozone layer. Consequently, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be wisest 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 good probability you have a natural gas leak in your residence. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be toxic in large amounts.

How You Can Solve It

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

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Leaving your home promptly.
  • Call your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who call us regarding this situation usually say 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 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 areas where you turn on heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling during the afternoon.

How to Solve It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to frequently get a new air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with ACS Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, since excess water can also result in noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it could be caused by several situations, such as:

  • A clogged filter
  • Excess condensation
  • Clogged 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, you should replace it. If that doesn’t solve the problem, reach ACS Heating and Air Conditioning at 770-450-1539.

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 include:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be examined immediately to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, shut it off and call us at 770-450-1539 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why it’s important to have a pro like ACS Heating and Air Conditioning look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Specialists Can Eliminate Odd Air Conditioner Smells Fast

You deserve to be cozy in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 770-450-1539. We’ll figure out the trouble quickly and fix it at a competitive.