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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and operating right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything odd. Unexpected air conditioner noises and strange 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 Cape Coral.

Here are six of the most frequent air conditioner smells and how you can fix them.

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, especially a chemical smell, isn’t a positive sign. You may also report your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents are often a hint 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 Signs You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

Besides the strange smell, here are four other clues that you have a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is operating.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your house comfortable or achieving your desired temperature.
  4. High utility costs.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak calls for experienced assistance from a heating and cooling company like Comfort Zone Inc. Your cooling professional will pinpoint and mend the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, per nationwide averages assembled by HomeAdvisor. Your exact cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how long it takes to fix.

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, it’s likely it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made because of its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Consequently, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be best to do air conditioning installation in this instance.

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 high chance you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, since the gas can be fatal in big amounts.

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home as soon as possible.
  • Call your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who contact us about this problem usually share their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s running. Also referred to as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is typically caused by a filthy evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Moisture can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most typical in areas where you need heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Fix It

The best method for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to regularly change your air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with Comfort Zone Inc. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, as standing water can also create unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are living with air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it can be caused by several situations, such as:

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

How to Fix It

Inspect your filter first. If you haven’t changed 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, reach Comfort Zone Inc at 239-214-0411.

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 a number of things wrong. These entail:

  • Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor.
  • Motor that should have lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical trouble.

Electrical problems should be checked right away to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and reach us at 239-214-0411 without delay.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A strong ammonia odor means there might be mold spreading inside 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 we recommend having a professional like Comfort Zone Inc examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Professionals Can Get Rid of Odd Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

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, contact us at 239-214-0411. We’ll diagnose the problem quickly and resolve it at a reasonable.