6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Decoded and How to Repair the Problem

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and running right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything odd. Abnormal air conditioner noises and strange smells are a sign that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had a tune-up done lately, they can be an obvious sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Wyandotte.

Here are six of the most common 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, especially a chemical smell, isn’t a positive sign. You could also notice your:

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

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

4 Hints You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is on.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your home cold or having your desired temperature.
  4. Higher energy bills.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak needs experienced support from a heating and cooling company like Gee & Missler Heating & Air Conditioning. Your cooling technician will pinpoint and fix the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, based on nationwide averages assembled by HomeAdvisor. Your exact cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it takes to fix.

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 produced as a result of its negative effects on the ozone layer. Because of this, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be wisest to schedule air conditioning installation in this circumstance.

2. Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, there’s probably nothing wrong with it. But there’s a significant likelihood 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 fatal in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Solve It

If you notice a sulfur or rotten egg odor, we recommend:

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside right away.
  • Contacting your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who call us regarding this situation usually report 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 usually 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 locations where you turn on heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling later on.

How to Solve It

The best method for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to regularly replace your air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Gee & Missler Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, because excess water can also lead to noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it might be the result of several issues, such as:

  • A dirty filter
  • Extra condensation
  • Blocked 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, we recommend replacing it. If that doesn’t resolve the smell, reach Gee & Missler Heating & Air Conditioning at 734-363-8907.

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 couple of things wrong. These involve:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be inspected quickly to stop a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, switch it off and contact us at 734-363-8907 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A strong 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 Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why you should have a professional like Gee & Missler Heating & Air Conditioning examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Specialists Can Eliminate Odd 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 smelly air conditioner, contact us at 734-363-8907. We’ll figure out the trouble quickly and resolve it at a fair price.