6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Explained and How to Fix Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and operating properly, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything weird. Unexpected air conditioner noises and odd smells are a hint that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had maintenance done within the last year, they can be a clear sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Alice.

Here are six of the most frequent 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 odor, isn’t a great sign. You could also report your:

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

These sweet, chemical smells are often a clue that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system needs this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can break out as time passes.

4 Clues You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

In addition to the weird smell, here are four other signs that you are experiencing a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is cooling.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your house cool or having your set temperature.
  4. High electrical costs.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak requires experienced support from a heating and cooling company like Rescue Heating & Air . Your cooling technician will pinpoint and fix the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

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

If your air conditioner was installed early than 2010, there’s a high probability it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being produced as a result of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be smartest to consider 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 probability you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, since the gas can be toxic in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home promptly.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who contact us regarding this problem frequently share their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is typically created by a filthy evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Condensation can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most often seen in areas where you turn on heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling later on.

How to Solve It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to regularly change your air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with Rescue Heating & Air . We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, because excess 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 might be prompted by several problems, such as:

  • A filthy 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 changed it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, we recommend replacing it. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, call Rescue Heating & Air at 361-265-4371.

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 a couple of things wrong. These involve:

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

Electrical issues should be inspected right away to stop a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, switch it off and reach us at 361-265-4371 without delay.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why you should have a pro like Rescue Heating & Air examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Pros Can Eliminate Strange Air Conditioner Smells Fast

You deserve to be cozy in your home and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your smelly air conditioner, reach us at 361-265-4371. We’ll diagnose the problem quickly and resolve it at a fair price.