6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Solve Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and operating right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything weird. Unexpected air conditioner noises and weird smells are a clue that something is off. If your air conditioner is aging or you haven’t had maintenance scheduled within the last year, they can be an obvious sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Jefferson City.

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

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

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

4 Signs You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

Besides the odd smell, here are four other signs that you are dealing with a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is cooling.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your residence cold or having your set temperature.
  4. High energy bills.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak calls for experienced support from a heating and cooling company like Stieferman Heating Company Inc. Your cooling pro will pinpoint and fix the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

Repairing a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your total 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 prior to 2010, it’s likely it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured due to its damaging effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be very expensive so it may be wisest to do 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 significant likelihood you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be deadly in large amounts.

How You Can Repair It

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

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

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who call us about this situation often share 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 often seen in areas where you need heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling later on.

How to Solve It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely get a new air filter and schedule regular air conditioning maintenance with Stieferman Heating Company Inc. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, as excess water can also produce unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

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

  • A clogged filter
  • Too much condensation
  • Blocked 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, you should replace it. If that doesn’t solve the issue, call Stieferman Heating Company Inc at 573-203-3908.

5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If you’re experiencing an air conditioner burning smell or that your air conditioner smells like fish, there could be a couple of things wrong. These entail:

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

Electrical issues should be examined right away to stop a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, shut it off and call us at 573-203-3908 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why it’s important to have a specialist like Stieferman Heating Company Inc examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Specialists Can Eliminate Weird Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

You deserve to be comfy in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are seeking relief from your smelly air conditioner, give us a call at 573-203-3908. We’ll determine the trouble quickly and take care of it at a competitive.