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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and running properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything weird. Unusual air conditioner noises and odd smells are a clue that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is aging or you haven’t had a tune-up scheduled recently, they can be an obvious sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Booneville.

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, particularly a chemical odor, isn’t a great sign. You might also observe your:

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

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

4 Signs You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Aside from the strange smell, here are four other hints that you are dealing with a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is on.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your house comfortable or achieving your set temperature.
  4. Higher electrical bills.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak calls for experienced assistance from a heating and cooling company like Booneville Heating & Cooling LLC. Your cooling pro will pinpoint and fix the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak typically 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 many hours it requires to repair.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a high probability it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made as a result of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Because of this, 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 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 alert you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be fatal in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Shutting off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside right away.
  • Getting in touch with 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 referred to as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently created by a filthy 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 climates where you use heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling later in the day.

How to Solve It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to regularly replace your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Booneville Heating & Cooling LLC. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, because excess water can also lead to 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 prompted by several problems, like:

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

How to Repair It

Check your filter first. If you haven’t replaced it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, we recommend replacing it. If that doesn’t solve the smell, call Booneville Heating & Cooling LLC at 662-269-8716.

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 several things wrong. These involve:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be inspected quickly to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, shut it off and call us at 662-269-8716 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A powerful ammonia odor means there may be mold present inside 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 health. That’s why you should have a pro like Booneville Heating & Cooling LLC look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Pros Can Eliminate Strange 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 stinky air conditioner, give us a call at 662-269-8716. We’ll diagnose the problem quickly and resolve it at a reasonable.