6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Solve the Problem

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and working correctly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything weird. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and strange smells are a clue that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is aging or you haven’t had maintenance completed within the last year, they can be an obvious sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Plover.

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 odor, isn’t a positive sign. You could also observe your:

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

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

4 Signs You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is operating.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your home cool or having your set temperature.
  4. High energy costs.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak needs experienced assistance from a heating and cooling company like Point Heating & Cooling. Your cooling pro will locate and mend the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, per nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your total 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 before 2010, there’s a high probability it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made because of its damaging effects on the ozone layer. As a consequence, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be smartest to schedule 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 high chance you have a natural gas leak in your home. 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 detect a sulfur or rotten egg odor, we advise:

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home right away.
  • Contacting your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who contact us regarding this situation frequently mention their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s on. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently caused by a dirty 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 climates where you use heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Repair It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to frequently change your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Point Heating & Cooling. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, since standing water can also produce unpleasant 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 issues, such as:

  • A filthy filter
  • Excess condensation
  • Plugged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Fix It

Check your filter first. If you haven’t changed it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, it’s time to replace it. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, call Point Heating & Cooling at 715-504-0533.

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 should have lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical issue.

Electrical malfunctions should be inspected immediately to avoid a fire. If you notice burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, turn it off and call us at 715-504-0533 without delay.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering ammonia odor means there may be mold flourishing in your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell isn’t the mold itself, but the mycotoxins that mold makes.

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why it’s important to have a specialist like Point Heating & Cooling look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Pros Can Get Rid of Weird Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be cozy in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 715-504-0533. We’ll figure out the issue quickly and resolve it at a reasonable.