6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Fix Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and operating properly, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything odd. Unusual air conditioner noises and weird smells are a clue that something is up. If your air conditioner is aging or you haven’t had a tune-up completed within the last year, they can be a sure sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Brandon.

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 observe your:

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

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

4 Clues You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Aside from the odd smell, here are four other signs 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. It’s hard keeping your house cold or achieving your programmed temperature.
  4. Increasing utility bills.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak needs experienced assistance from a heating and cooling company like Brandon Heating and Plumbing. Your cooling pro will find and repair the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, per nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your precise cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how long it takes to repair.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, it’s likely it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made because of its damaging effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be wisest to schedule air conditioning installation in this instance.

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 significant probability you have a natural gas leak in your residence. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be deadly in large amounts.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Leaving your home right away.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who reach us about this situation frequently mention their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also referred to as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently caused by a dirty 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 typical in areas where you need heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Solve It

The best method for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to regularly get a new air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with Brandon Heating and Plumbing. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, as excess water can also create noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it could be caused by several issues, like:

  • A filthy filter
  • Excess condensation
  • Blocked condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Resolve It

Examine 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 problem, reach Brandon Heating and Plumbing at 204-728-0180.

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 include:

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

Electrical issues should be checked right away to stop a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, turn it off and call us at 204-728-0180 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering ammonia odor means there might be mold flourishing in your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell isn’t the mold itself, but the mycotoxins that mold makes.

How to Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why you should have a specialist like Brandon Heating and Plumbing check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Pros Can Take Care of Weird Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

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, reach us at 204-728-0180. We’ll diagnose the trouble quickly and fix it at a competitive.