6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Explained and How to Fix the Issue

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and running correctly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything strange. Unexpected air conditioner noises and strange smells are a hint that something is up. If your air conditioner is past its prime or you haven’t had service done recently, they can be a sure sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Kutztown.

Here are six of the top air conditioner smells and how you can solve them.

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, especially a chemical smell, isn’t a great sign. You may also report your:

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

These sweet, chemical smells are regularly a hint that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system relies on this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can crack as time goes on.

4 Clues You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is on.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your house cool or achieving your desired temperature.
  4. Higher energy expenses.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak calls for professional support from a heating and cooling company like Moyer Total Indoor Comfort. Your cooling professional will pinpoint and mend the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages compiled by HomeAdvisor. Your precise 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 early than 2010, there’s a good chance it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being produced as a result of its adverse effects on the ozone layer. Consequently, repairs can be very expensive so it may be best to schedule air conditioning installation in this circumstance.

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

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside promptly.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company immediately.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who reach us to report this problem frequently say 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 typically linked to 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 locations where you need heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling later in the day.

How to Fix It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely get a new air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Moyer Total Indoor Comfort. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, as standing water can also result in nasty odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it could be prompted by several problems, like:

  • A filthy filter
  • Too much condensation
  • Clogged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Fix 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 fix the issue, call Moyer Total Indoor Comfort at 484-646-3363.

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 involve:

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

Electrical issues should be inspected right away to avoid a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, switch it off and call us at 484-646-3363 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A strong ammonia odor means there could be mold present within your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell isn’t the mold itself, but the mycotoxins that mold produces.

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why we recommend having a specialist like Moyer Total Indoor Comfort check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Specialists Can Take Care of Weird 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 smelly air conditioner, contact us at 484-646-3363. We’ll determine the trouble quickly and resolve it at a reasonable.