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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and running right, you shouldn’t be smelling anything weird. Peculiar air conditioner noises and odd smells are a sign that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is past its prime 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 Hamilton.

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 positive sign. You may also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical smells are regularly a sign that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system needs this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can break out as time goes on.

4 Clues You Have a Refrigerant Leak

In addition to the strange smell, here are four other hints 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. Trouble keeping your home comfortable or having your desired temperature.
  4. Higher utility expenses.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak needs professional assistance from a heating and cooling company like Carefree Heating and Cooling, LLC. Your cooling specialist will locate and fix the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages assembled by HomeAdvisor. Your total cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how long it needs to repair.

If your air conditioner was installed early than 2010, there’s a high probability it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made due to its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be very expensive so it may be best to do 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 house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to alert you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be fatal in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Repair It

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

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

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who call us about this situation often report their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s on. Also referred to as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently created by a grubby evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Moisture 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 later in the day.

How to Repair It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to frequently get a new air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Carefree Heating and Cooling, LLC. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, because standing water can also create unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it might be caused by several problems, including:

  • A dirty filter
  • Too much condensation
  • Blocked condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Resolve It

Check your filter first. If you haven’t put in a new one within the last three months and can’t see light through it, it’s time to replace it. If that doesn’t fix the issue, contact Carefree Heating and Cooling, LLC at 513-268-5164.

5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If you’re experiencing 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 issue.

Electrical issues should be examined right away to avoid a fire. If you notice burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, switch it off and reach us at 513-268-5164 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering ammonia odor means there might be mold present 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 we recommend having a specialist like Carefree Heating and Cooling, LLC examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Specialists Can Take Care of Unpleasant Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

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 513-268-5164. We’ll diagnose the problem quickly and take care of it at a reasonable.