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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and running right, it’s not normal to be smelling anything odd. Unusual air conditioner noises and odd smells are a clue that something is up. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had maintenance done within the last year, they can be a sure sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Katy.

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

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

These sweet, chemical scents are regularly a sign that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system relies on this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can break out over time.

4 Hints You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is operating.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your residence comfortable or reaching your desired temperature.
  4. Higher energy bills.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak calls for skilled support from a heating and cooling company like Goode Bros AC & Heating. Your cooling specialist will find and mend the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Repairing a refrigerant leak often 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 much time it takes to fix.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a good chance it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made because of its adverse 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 situation.

2. Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, there’s probably nothing wrong with it. But there’s a good probability you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, since the gas can be deadly in large amounts.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who contact us regarding this issue often report 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 usually linked to a grubby evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Moisture can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most common in locations where you use heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling during the afternoon.

How to Repair It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to regularly replace your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Goode Bros AC & Heating. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, as stagnant water can also produce nasty odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it might be caused by several problems, like:

  • A dirty filter
  • Excess condensation
  • Clogged 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, it’s time to replace it. If that doesn’t fix the issue, contact Goode Bros AC & Heating at (833)-466-3322.

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 entail:

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

Electrical malfunctions should be checked quickly to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, turn it off and contact us at (833)-466-3322 without delay.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A strong ammonia odor means there may be mold flourishing 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 well-being. That’s why it’s important to have a professional like Goode Bros AC & Heating look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Professionals Can Take Care of Weird Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

You deserve to be comfy in your house 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 (833)-466-3322. We’ll determine the trouble quickly and fix it at a reasonable.