6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Decoded and How to Solve Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and operating right, you shouldn’t be smelling anything odd. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and weird smells are a clue that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is aging or you haven’t had service completed recently, they can be a clear sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Kearney.

Here are six of the most frequent 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, particularly a chemical smell, isn’t a good sign. You could 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 is suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system needs this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can break out as time goes on.

4 Hints You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Besides the weird smell, here are four other hints that you have a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is cooling.
  2. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your house cool or having your set temperature.
  4. Increasing utility expenses.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak needs skilled support from a heating and cooling company like Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning. Your cooling pro will locate and mend the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your precise 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 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 damaging effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be very 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 good chance you have a natural gas leak in your home. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be fatal in large amounts.

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Call your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who contact us regarding this problem frequently mention their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s running. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently linked to a grubby evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Condensation can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most common in locations 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 routinely change your air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, since excess water can also produce noxious 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 problems, like:

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

How to Fix 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 solve the issue, reach Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning at 308-624-3485.

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 include:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be checked quickly to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, turn it off and reach us at 308-624-3485 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why it’s important to have a pro like Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Professionals Can Take Care of Odd Air Conditioner Smells Fast

You deserve to be comfy in your home and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are seeking relief from your noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 308-624-3485. We’ll determine the issue quickly and take care of it at a reasonable.