6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Solve Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and running right, it’s not normal to be smelling anything odd. Abnormal air conditioner noises and strange smells are a clue that something is off. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had a tune-up done within the last year, they can be a sure sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Lake Worth.

Here are six of the most frequent 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 scent, isn’t a good sign. You might also report your:

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

These sweet, chemical odors are regularly a clue that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system needs this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can wear out as time passes.

4 Hints You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

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

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

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak calls for professional support from a heating and cooling company like Smyth Air Conditioning Inc. Your cooling technician will pinpoint and repair the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, per nationwide averages assembled by HomeAdvisor. Your precise cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how long it takes to solve.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a high probability 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. Because of this, repairs can be very expensive so it may be best to do air conditioning installation in this instance.

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 likelihood you have a natural gas leak in your home. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be fatal in big amounts.

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home as soon as possible.
  • Call your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who reach us to report this situation often say their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s on. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is usually caused 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 typical in locations where you use heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Solve It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely replace your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Smyth Air Conditioning Inc. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, as standing water can also lead to nasty odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it might be prompted by several problems, like:

  • A dirty filter
  • Excess condensation
  • Clogged 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 resolve the problem, contact Smyth Air Conditioning Inc at 561-533-6066 .

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 needs lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical malfunctions.

Electrical issues should be checked quickly to prevent a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, shut it off and call us at 561-533-6066 without delay.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering ammonia odor means there could be mold flourishing within 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 health. That’s why we recommend having a specialist like Smyth Air Conditioning Inc check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Professionals Can Get Rid of Odd Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

You deserve to be cozy in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are looking for relief from your stinky air conditioner, contact us at 561-533-6066 . We’ll determine the issue quickly and resolve it at a competitive.