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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and operating right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything odd. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and weird smells are a clue that something is off. If your air conditioner is past its prime or you haven’t had a tune-up completed recently, they can be an obvious sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Abilene.

Here are six of the most common 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, specifically a chemical scent, isn’t a positive sign. You might also observe your:

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

These sweet, chemical smells are often a clue that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can crack over time.

4 Signs You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

Aside from the weird smell, here are four other hints that you are experiencing a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is on.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your house cold or reaching your programmed temperature.
  4. Increasing energy bills.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak requires experienced repairs from a heating and cooling company like Abilene Air-Tech Inc. Your cooling professional will pinpoint and mend the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

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

If your air conditioner was installed early than 2010, there’s a good chance it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being produced as a result of its damaging effects on the ozone layer. As a consequence, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be wisest to schedule air conditioning installation in this instance.

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 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, as the gas can be toxic in big amounts.

How You Can Solve It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home as soon as possible.
  • Contacting your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who reach us to report this issue often share 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 filthy 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 often seen in locations where you use heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling later in the day.

How to Repair It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to frequently change your air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Abilene Air-Tech Inc. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, as standing water can also produce noxious 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 prompted by several issues, including:

  • A clogged filter
  • Extra condensation
  • Blocked condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Resolve It

Examine your filter first. If you haven’t put in a new one within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t solve the issue, call Abilene Air-Tech Inc at 325-200-4667.

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 couple of things wrong. These involve:

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

Electrical problems should be inspected quickly to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, turn it off and call us at 325-200-4667 immediately.

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 creates.

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why you should have a specialist like Abilene Air-Tech Inc check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Specialists Can Eliminate Odd Air Conditioner Smells Fast

You deserve to be comfortable in your home and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are seeking relief from your noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 325-200-4667. We’ll figure out the issue quickly and take care of it at a fair price.

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