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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and working properly, it’s not normal to be smelling anything odd. Abnormal air conditioner noises and strange smells are a hint that something is off. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had service done recently, they can be an obvious sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Ballwin and St. Charles.

Here are six of the top air conditioner smells and how you can resolve them.

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, particularly a chemical scent, isn’t a good sign. You may also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents are regularly a sign 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 goes on.

4 Signs You Have a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is on.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your residence cool or having your programmed temperature.
  4. Higher electrical expenses.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak requires experienced support from a heating and cooling company like Air Alliance Team. Your cooling technician will locate and fix the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, according to 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 needs to repair.

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, there’s a high probability it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made because of its damaging effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be wisest to do air conditioning installation in this circumstance.

2. Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, there’s likely nothing wrong with it. But there’s a significant probability you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, since the gas can be toxic in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home promptly.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who contact us about this situation usually say their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently created by a dirty evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Condensation can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most common in areas where you need heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling later on.

How to Solve It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to regularly get a new air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Air Alliance Team. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, as 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 strong, vinegar-like odor, it could be prompted by several issues, including:

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

How to Solve It

Examine your filter first. If you haven’t replaced it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, we recommend replacing it. If that doesn’t resolve the smell, contact Air Alliance Team at 636-206-4250.

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 entail:

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

Electrical issues should be examined right away to stop a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, switch it off and reach us at 636-206-4250 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A powerful ammonia odor means there may be mold flourishing within your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell isn’t the mold itself, but the mycotoxins that mold creates.

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why we recommend having a pro like Air Alliance Team look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Professionals Can Get Rid of Unpleasant Air Conditioner Smells Fast

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 noxious air conditioner, contact us at 636-206-4250. We’ll determine the issue quickly and take care of it at a competitive.