6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Solve Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and running right, you shouldn’t be smelling anything odd. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and odd smells are a clue that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had a tune-up scheduled recently, they can be a sure sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Saint Petersburg.

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 odor, isn’t a positive sign. You could also notice your:

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

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

4 Hints You Have a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is cooling.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your house cold or having your desired temperature.
  4. Increasing electrical costs.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak needs skilled assistance from a heating and cooling company like Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc. Your cooling pro will pinpoint and repair the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

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

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a good chance it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made due to its damaging effects on the ozone layer. As a consequence, repairs can be very 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 significant probability you have a natural gas leak in your residence. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to alert you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be toxic in big amounts.

How You Can Solve It

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

  • Shutting off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside right away.
  • Call your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who reach us to report this situation often mention 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 dirty 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 areas where you need heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling later on.

How to Repair It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to frequently change your air filter and schedule regular air conditioning maintenance with Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, as excess water can also produce unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are living with air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it might be prompted by several issues, including:

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

How to Repair It

Check your filter first. If you haven’t replaced it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t solve the issue, reach Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc at 727-369-6195.

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 number of things wrong. These entail:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be checked quickly to avoid a fire. If you notice burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, turn it off and reach us at 727-369-6195 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why it’s important to have a pro like Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Professionals Can Get Rid of Strange Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be comfortable in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 727-369-6195. We’ll determine the trouble quickly and resolve it at a competitive.