6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Decoded and How to Fix Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and running properly, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything weird. Peculiar air conditioner noises and odd smells are a clue that something is off. If your air conditioner is past its prime or you haven’t had a tune-up scheduled recently, they can be a clear sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Crestview.

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, specifically a chemical scent, isn’t a great sign. You may also observe your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents are regularly a clue that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can wear out over time.

4 Signs You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

In addition to the strange smell, here are four other clues that you are dealing with a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your house comfortable or achieving your desired temperature.
  4. High utility expenses.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak needs experienced assistance from a heating and cooling company like Gordon Air Conditioning. Your cooling technician will pinpoint and fix the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, based on nationwide averages compiled by HomeAdvisor. Your total cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how many hours it needs to fix.

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, there’s a high probability it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured due to its adverse effects on the ozone layer. Because of this, repairs can be very expensive so it may be wisest to do air conditioning installation in this circumstance.

2. Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, there’s likely nothing wrong with it. But there’s a significant probability you have a natural gas leak in your home. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to alert you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be toxic in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Leaving your home right away.
  • Call your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who reach us to report this problem frequently share their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s on. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is usually linked to a grubby 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 turn on heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling later in the day.

How to Fix It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to routinely get a new air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with Gordon Air Conditioning. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, since standing water can also result in 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 situations, including:

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

How to Resolve It

Inspect 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 solve the smell, contact Gordon Air Conditioning at 850-250-0335.

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 needs lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical trouble.

Electrical malfunctions should be examined quickly to prevent a fire. If you notice burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, shut it off and contact us at 850-250-0335 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why you should have a pro like Gordon Air Conditioning look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Specialists Can Take Care of Strange 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 noxious air conditioner, reach us at 850-250-0335. We’ll figure out the trouble quickly and fix it at a fair price.