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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and operating properly, it’s not normal to be smelling anything odd. Unexpected 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 maintenance completed recently, they can be an obvious sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Cambridge.

Here are six of the most frequent 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 odor, isn’t a positive sign. You might also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents 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 crack over time.

4 Hints You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Aside from the strange smell, here are four other clues that you have 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 cold or achieving your desired temperature.
  4. Higher utility bills.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak requires professional support from a heating and cooling company like Pliescott HVAC Services LLC . Your cooling professional will find and fix the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, according to 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 solve.

If your air conditioner was installed before 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 extremely expensive so it may be wisest 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 probability you have a natural gas leak in your residence. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be toxic in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Shutting off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Contacting your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who call us regarding this situation frequently report their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s on. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is usually created by a grubby 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 common in locations where you turn on heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling during the afternoon.

How to Repair It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely change your air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Pliescott HVAC Services LLC . We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, because excess water can also produce noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it could be prompted by several situations, such as:

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

How to Repair It

Inspect 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, call Pliescott HVAC Services LLC at 410-228-4822.

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 a couple of things wrong. These involve:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be examined quickly to prevent a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, switch it off and reach us at 410-228-4822 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering ammonia odor means there could be mold growing within your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell isn’t the mold itself, but the mycotoxins that mold creates.

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why it’s important to have a professional like Pliescott HVAC Services LLC look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Professionals Can Get Rid of Strange Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be cozy in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are seeking relief from your noxious air conditioner, reach us at 410-228-4822. We’ll diagnose the trouble quickly and fix it at a fair price.