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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and running correctly, it’s not normal to 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 past its prime or you haven’t had maintenance completed recently, they can be an obvious sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Cottonwood.

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, specifically a chemical odor, isn’t a great sign. You may also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical smells are frequently a hint that your air conditioner is suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system relies on this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can crack as time passes.

4 Hints You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Aside from 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 operating.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your home comfortable or reaching your set temperature.
  4. Higher electrical costs.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak needs experienced support from a heating and cooling company like Connolly Electric & Mechanical. Your cooling pro will locate and fix the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Repairing a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages assembled by HomeAdvisor. Your precise cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how many hours it takes to solve.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a high probability it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made due to its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Because of this, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be best to do 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 high likelihood you have a natural gas leak in your residence. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be fatal in large amounts.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home right away.
  • Contacting your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who reach us to report this problem 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 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 often seen in areas where you use heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Fix It

The best method for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to regularly change your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Connolly Electric & Mechanical. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, since stagnant water can also create unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

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

  • A filthy filter
  • Excess condensation
  • Clogged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Repair 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 issue, call Connolly Electric & Mechanical at 928-639-4251.

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 couple of things wrong. These entail:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be checked immediately to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and call us at 928-639-4251 without delay.

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 creates.

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why it’s important to have a specialist like Connolly Electric & Mechanical check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Specialists Can Get Rid of Strange Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be comfy in your home and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are looking for relief from your smelly air conditioner, contact us at 928-639-4251. We’ll diagnose the trouble quickly and take care of it at a competitive.