6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Explained and How to Fix Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and working properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything odd. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and odd smells are a hint that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had maintenance done within the last year, they can be a sure sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Lafayette.

Here are six of the most common air conditioner smells and how you can repair 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 report your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents are frequently a clue that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can crack as time goes on.

4 Hints You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Besides the weird smell, here are four other hints 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. Difficulty keeping your house comfortable or achieving your desired temperature.
  4. High energy bills.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak needs experienced repairs from a heating and cooling company like AC Sales. Your cooling pro will find and repair the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, per nationwide averages assembled by HomeAdvisor. Your exact 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 early than 2010, it’s likely it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured because of its negative effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be smartest to consider air conditioning installation in this situation.

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

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Leaving your home promptly.
  • Contacting your gas company immediately.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who call us to report this issue often share their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s running. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is typically created 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 transitioning to cooling later in the day.

How to Repair It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to regularly change your air filter and schedule regular air conditioning maintenance with AC Sales. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, as standing water can also create nasty odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

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

  • A clogged filter
  • Extra condensation
  • Clogged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Solve It

Examine 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 resolve the smell, reach AC Sales at (337) 234-2345.

5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If you’re dealing with 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 should have lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical malfunctions.

Electrical issues should be examined quickly to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, shut it off and reach us at (337) 234-2345 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering 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 Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why it’s important to have a professional like AC Sales examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Pros Can Eliminate Unpleasant Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be cozy in your home and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are looking for relief from your smelly air conditioner, give us a call at (337) 234-2345. We’ll figure out the issue quickly and resolve it at a competitive.