6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Decoded and How to Solve Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and running properly, it’s not normal to be smelling anything strange. Unexpected air conditioner noises and strange smells are a clue that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is past its prime or you haven’t had maintenance completed within the last year, they can be a clear sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Huntingburg.

Here are six of the most frequent air conditioner smells and how you can fix them.

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, particularly 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 odors are frequently a hint that your air conditioner is suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can crack over time.

4 Signs You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is cooling.
  2. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your home cold or reaching your programmed temperature.
  4. Higher utility costs.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak needs skilled assistance from a heating and cooling company like Dearing's Service & Solutions. Your cooling pro will pinpoint and fix the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, based on nationwide averages assembled by HomeAdvisor. Your exact cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it needs to solve.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a high probability it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured as a result of its adverse effects on the ozone layer. As a result, 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 likelihood you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be fatal in large amounts.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Call your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who contact us regarding this problem often 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 linked to 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 typical in climates where you use heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling later on.

How to Repair It

The best method for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to frequently change your air filter and schedule regular air conditioning maintenance with Dearing's Service & Solutions. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, since stagnant water can also lead to nasty odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are dealing with air conditioner mildew smell or a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it might be the result of several situations, including:

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

How to Resolve 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 problem, reach Dearing's Service & Solutions at 812-200-5844.

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 problem.

Electrical problems should be examined right away to prevent a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, turn it off and contact us at 812-200-5844 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why it’s important to have a professional like Dearing's Service & Solutions check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Specialists Can Eliminate Strange Air Conditioner Smells Fast

You deserve to be comfy in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your noxious air conditioner, contact us at 812-200-5844. We’ll figure out the problem quickly and fix it at a fair price.