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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and operating correctly, it’s not normal to be smelling anything odd. Abnormal air conditioner noises and weird smells are a sign that something is off. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had maintenance scheduled within the last year, they can be a sure sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Opelika.

Here are six of the most frequent air conditioner smells and how you can solve 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 might also observe your:

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

These sweet, chemical smells are regularly a sign that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system needs this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can crack as time passes.

4 Signs You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your house cool or reaching your set temperature.
  4. High utility costs.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak needs professional support from a heating and cooling company like Farnell Mechanical, Inc.. Your cooling technician will find and fix the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Repairing a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, based on nationwide averages compiled by HomeAdvisor. Your precise cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it needs to solve.

If your air conditioner was installed early than 2010, there’s a high probability it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being produced due to its adverse effects on the ozone layer. Because of this, repairs can be very expensive so it may be smartest to schedule air conditioning installation in this instance.

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 probability you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to alert you when there’s a leak, since the gas can be fatal in large amounts.

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Contacting your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who call us to report this problem frequently 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 linked to a filthy evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Condensation can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most typical in climates where you need heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling later in the day.

How to Fix It

The best method for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to frequently change your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Farnell Mechanical, Inc.. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, since standing water can also create noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

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

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

How to Repair 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, it’s time to replace it. If that doesn’t solve the issue, call Farnell Mechanical, Inc. at 334-245-4748.

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 involve:

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

Electrical issues should be checked immediately to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, turn it off and contact us at 334-245-4748 without delay.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why it’s important to have a specialist like Farnell Mechanical, Inc. check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Specialists Can Eliminate Strange Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

You deserve to be comfortable in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are looking for relief from your stinky air conditioner, give us a call at 334-245-4748. We’ll determine the issue quickly and resolve it at a competitive.