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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and running properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything weird. Peculiar air conditioner noises and strange smells are a hint that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had service done recently, they can be an obvious sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Chatsworth.

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, particularly a chemical odor, isn’t a good sign. You could also observe your:

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

These sweet, chemical odors are typically a hint that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can break out as time goes on.

4 Signs You Are Dealing with 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 is on.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your house comfortable or reaching your programmed temperature.
  4. High utility bills.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak requires skilled support from a heating and cooling company like True Temp Heating & Air Inc. Your cooling specialist will pinpoint and mend the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, based on 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 needs to fix.

If your air conditioner was installed early than 2010, it’s likely 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. As a consequence, repairs can be extremely 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 possibly 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, as the gas can be fatal in big amounts.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Leaving your home right away.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who contact us to report this issue frequently say 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 grubby evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Condensation can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most typical in locations where you turn on heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling later in the day.

How to Fix It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to routinely replace your air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with True Temp Heating & Air Inc. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, because stagnant water can also result in noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

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

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

How to Fix It

Inspect 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, reach True Temp Heating & Air Inc at 706-695-7492.

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 requires lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical trouble.

Electrical issues should be checked immediately to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, turn it off and contact us at 706-695-7492 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A strong ammonia odor means there may 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 you should have a pro like True Temp Heating & Air Inc check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Specialists Can Eliminate Odd Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be cozy in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are looking for relief from your smelly air conditioner, reach us at 706-695-7492. We’ll diagnose the trouble quickly and resolve it at a competitive.