6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Explained and How to Repair Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and running correctly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything weird. Unusual air conditioner noises and odd smells are a sign that something is up. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had maintenance scheduled lately, they can be an obvious sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Dayton.

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, especially a chemical odor, isn’t a positive sign. You may also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents are typically a hint that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can break out as time goes on.

4 Hints You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

In addition to the weird 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 crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your home cold or reaching your desired temperature.
  4. Increasing electrical bills.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak needs skilled repairs from a heating and cooling company like Jent Mechanical LLC. Your cooling specialist will locate and mend the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

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

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, there’s a good chance it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made as a result of its adverse effects on the ozone layer. As a consequence, repairs can be very expensive so it may be best to do 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 good chance you have a natural gas leak in your residence. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be fatal in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Solve It

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

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home right away.
  • Call your gas company immediately.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who reach us about this problem often mention 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 common in areas where you use heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling later on.

How to Solve It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely change your air filter and schedule regular air conditioning maintenance with Jent Mechanical LLC. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, as standing water can also create unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it could be prompted by several problems, such as:

  • A clogged filter
  • Too much condensation
  • Plugged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Repair It

Inspect your filter first. If you haven’t changed it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, it’s time to replace it. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, reach Jent Mechanical LLC at 937-845-1111.

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 include:

  • Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor.
  • Motor that requires lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical problem.

Electrical problems should be checked quickly to prevent a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, turn it off and contact us at 937-845-1111 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why we recommend having a specialist like Jent Mechanical LLC look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Pros Can Take Care of Odd Air Conditioner Smells Fast

You deserve to be comfortable in your home and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 937-845-1111. We’ll determine the issue quickly and take care of it at a competitive.