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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and running properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything weird. Peculiar air conditioner noises and odd smells are a hint that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had maintenance completed within the last year, they can be a clear sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Derby.

Here are six of the most common 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 positive sign. You could also notice your:

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

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

4 Clues You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

Aside from the strange smell, here are four other signs that you have a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your residence cool or achieving your desired temperature.
  4. High energy bills.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak calls for experienced support from a heating and cooling company like Giordanos Heating and Air Conditioning. Your cooling pro will locate and mend the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your exact cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it takes to solve.

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, there’s a good chance it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made due to its damaging effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be best to do 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 good likelihood you have a natural gas leak in your home. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to alert you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be deadly in big amounts.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside right away.
  • Contacting your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who contact us to report this problem often report their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s on. Also referred to as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently created by a filthy evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Moisture can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most common in areas where you use heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling later on.

How to Repair It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to routinely replace your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Giordanos Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, as stagnant water can also create nasty odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are living with air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it might be prompted by several issues, including:

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

How to Repair It

Examine 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, reach Giordanos Heating and Air Conditioning at 203-772-8319.

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 involve:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be examined quickly to stop a fire. If you notice burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, switch it off and reach us at 203-772-8319 without delay.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering ammonia odor means there could be mold spreading in 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 well-being. That’s why you should have a pro like Giordanos Heating and Air Conditioning check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Pros Can Take Care of Weird Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

You deserve to be comfy in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your stinky air conditioner, contact us at 203-772-8319. We’ll diagnose the problem quickly and resolve it at a reasonable.