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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and running right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything strange. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and strange smells are a sign that something is up. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had service completed within the last year, they can be an obvious sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Huntsville.

Here are six of the top 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 positive sign. You could also observe your:

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

These sweet, chemical odors are regularly a sign that your air conditioner is suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system relies on this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can break out as time passes.

4 Signs You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Besides the strange smell, here are four other hints that you are experiencing a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is cooling.
  2. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your residence cold or achieving your set temperature.
  4. Increasing electrical costs.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak calls for professional repairs from a heating and cooling company like All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. Your cooling professional will find and mend the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak usually 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 long it takes to fix.

If your air conditioner was installed early than 2010, there’s a good chance it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured because of its adverse effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be wisest to do 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 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, because the gas can be fatal in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside promptly.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company immediately.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who contact us to report this situation frequently 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 usually caused by a grubby evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Moisture can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most often seen in locations where you need heating at night and during the morning before transitioning 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 yearly air conditioning maintenance with All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, since stagnant water can also produce nasty odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it can be caused by several problems, like:

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

How to Solve It

Check your filter first. If you haven’t changed it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t solve the problem, call All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning Inc at 256-801-4701.

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 number of things wrong. These include:

  • Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor.
  • Motor that needs lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical malfunctions.

Electrical issues should be checked right away to stop a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, shut it off and call us at 256-801-4701 without delay.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why it’s important to have a professional like All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning Inc look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Specialists Can Get Rid of Unpleasant Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be comfy in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your smelly air conditioner, contact us at 256-801-4701. We’ll determine the problem quickly and take care of it at a competitive.