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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and working properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything weird. Peculiar air conditioner noises and strange smells are a hint that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is aging or you haven’t had a tune-up done recently, they can be a clear sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Northglenn.

Here are six of the most frequent 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 scent, isn’t a positive sign. You could also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical odors are typically 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 Signs You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your residence comfortable or achieving your programmed temperature.
  4. Increasing energy expenses.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak requires professional repairs from a heating and cooling company like Northglenn Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.. Your cooling pro will locate and repair the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Fixing 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 long it needs to fix.

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 as a result of its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Consequently, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be wisest to consider air conditioning installation in this instance.

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 signal you when there’s a leak, because the gas can be fatal in big amounts.

How You Can Solve It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home promptly.
  • Call your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who call us regarding this issue usually report their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s on. 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 areas where you use 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 routinely replace your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Northglenn Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, as standing water can also result in unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

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

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

How to Solve It

Check your filter first. If you haven’t put in a new one within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t solve the issue, contact Northglenn Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. at 303-452-4146.

5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If you’re dealing with 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 should have lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical problem.

Electrical malfunctions should be inspected immediately to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and reach us at 303-452-4146 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why it’s important to have a pro like Northglenn Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Professionals Can Eliminate Strange Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

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 noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 303-452-4146. We’ll figure out the issue quickly and take care of it at a fair price.