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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and running correctly, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything weird. Abnormal air conditioner noises and odd smells are a hint that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is past its prime 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 Chadron.

Here are six of the most common air conditioner smells and how you can solve them.

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, specifically a chemical smell, isn’t a positive sign. You could also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents are frequently a clue that your air conditioner is suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can wear out as time goes on.

4 Clues You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Aside from the odd smell, here are four other hints that you have a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is operating.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your house cool or reaching your set temperature.
  4. High energy costs.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak needs experienced support from a heating and cooling company like MPC Heating & Cooling. Your cooling specialist will pinpoint and mend the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, based on nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your total cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how many hours it takes to repair.

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, there’s a high probability it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being produced because of its negative effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be very expensive so it may be best to consider 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 good chance 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 toxic in big amounts.

How You Can Solve It

If you notice 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 now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who contact us about this problem frequently mention 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. Condensation can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most typical in locations where you need heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling during the afternoon.

How to Repair It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to regularly get a new air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with MPC Heating & Cooling. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, because standing water can also result in unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are dealing with air conditioner mildew smell or a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it might be the result of several problems, like:

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

How to Repair It

Inspect 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 fix the issue, call MPC Heating & Cooling at 308-832-4321.

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 several things wrong. These involve:

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

Electrical problems should be checked right away to stop a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, shut it off and call us at 308-832-4321 right away.

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 Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why you should have a professional like MPC Heating & Cooling look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Professionals Can Get Rid of Strange Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

You deserve to be comfortable in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are looking for relief from your stinky air conditioner, reach us at 308-832-4321. We’ll figure out the trouble quickly and resolve it at a competitive.