6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Repair the Issue

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and running properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything strange. Abnormal air conditioner noises and strange smells are a sign that something is up. If your air conditioner is aging or you haven’t had service scheduled recently, they can be an obvious sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Odessa.

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, especially a chemical scent, isn’t a positive sign. You may also observe your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents are regularly a sign that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system needs this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can crack as time goes on.

4 Clues You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

In addition to the strange smell, here are four other clues that you are dealing with a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is cooling.
  2. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your residence cold or reaching your set temperature.
  4. Increasing utility expenses.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak calls for skilled assistance from a heating and cooling company like Redhawk Heating & Air Conditioning. Your cooling specialist will pinpoint and repair the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, based on nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your total cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it requires to repair.

If your air conditioner was installed early than 2010, it’s likely it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured due to its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Because of this, repairs can be very expensive so it may be wisest to consider air conditioning installation in this situation.

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 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, since the gas can be toxic in heavy concentrations.

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.
  • Contacting your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who contact us regarding this problem usually report their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently created by a grubby 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 common in areas where you use heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling later on.

How to Solve It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to regularly get a new air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Redhawk Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, as excess water can also produce noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are living with air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it can be the result of several issues, like:

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

How to Resolve It

Inspect your filter first. If you haven’t put in a new one within the last three months and can’t see light through it, we recommend replacing it. If that doesn’t solve the problem, reach Redhawk Heating & Air Conditioning at 432-237-0168.

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 several things wrong. These involve:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be checked immediately to avoid a fire. If you notice burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, switch it off and call us at 432-237-0168 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why it’s important to have a professional like Redhawk Heating & Air Conditioning examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Pros Can Take Care of Unpleasant Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

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, reach us at 432-237-0168. We’ll determine the problem quickly and fix it at a reasonable.