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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and working right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything weird. Peculiar air conditioner noises and weird smells are a hint that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had maintenance completed lately, they can be a sure sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Pella.

Here are six of the most common air conditioner smells and how you can repair 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 could also report your:

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

These sweet, chemical odors are regularly a sign that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can break out as time passes.

4 Clues You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is cooling.
  2. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your residence cool or achieving your programmed temperature.
  4. Higher electrical costs.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak requires professional repairs from a heating and cooling company like Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating. Your cooling professional will locate and fix the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages compiled by HomeAdvisor. Your total cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it takes to repair.

If your air conditioner was installed early than 2010, there’s a good chance it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being produced as a result of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be significantly 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 possibly nothing wrong with it. But there’s a significant likelihood you have a natural gas leak in your residence. 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 suggest:

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home right away.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who contact us regarding this problem frequently report their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is usually created 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 common in areas where you turn on heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling later in the day.

How to Repair It

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

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

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

  • A dirty filter
  • Excess condensation
  • Blocked condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Solve 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 resolve the problem, reach Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating at 641-628-3621.

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 entail:

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

Electrical issues should be inspected right away to stop a fire. If you notice burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and contact us at 641-628-3621 without delay.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A powerful ammonia odor means there might be mold spreading in 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 wellness. That’s why we recommend having a professional like Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Specialists Can Take Care of Weird Air Conditioner Smells Fast

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 smelly air conditioner, give us a call at 641-628-3621. We’ll figure out the trouble quickly and fix it at a reasonable.

When your air conditioner is clean and working right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything weird. Peculiar air conditioner noises and weird smells are a hint that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had maintenance completed lately, they can be a sure sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Pella. Here are six of the most common air conditioner smells and how you can repair 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 could also report your: Air conditioner smells like paint thinner Home air conditioner smells sweet These sweet, chemical odors are regularly a sign that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can break out as time passes. 4 Clues You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak Besides the strange smell, here are four other signs that you are dealing with a refrigerant leak. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is cooling. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil. It’s hard keeping your residence cool or achieving your programmed temperature. Higher electrical costs. How You Can Repair It A refrigerant leak requires professional repairs from a heating and cooling company like Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating. Your cooling professional will locate and fix the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant. Resolving a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages compiled by HomeAdvisor. Your total cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it takes to repair. If your air conditioner was installed early than 2010, there’s a good chance it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being produced as a result of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be significantly 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 possibly nothing wrong with it. But there’s a significant likelihood you have a natural gas leak in your residence. 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 suggest: Turning off your gas supply. Opening windows. Evacuating your home right away. Getting in touch with your gas company now. 3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty People who contact us regarding this problem frequently report their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is usually created 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 common in areas where you turn on heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling later in the day. How to Repair It The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely get a new air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, because standing water can also result in nasty odors. 4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar If you are dealing with air conditioner mildew smell or a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it could be the result of several situations, such as: A dirty filter Excess condensation Blocked condensate pan or drain line Moldy air conditioner or ductwork How to Solve 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 resolve the problem, reach Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating at 641-628-3621. 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 entail: Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor. Motor that needs lubrication. Broken fan belt. Electrical trouble. Electrical issues should be inspected right away to stop a fire. If you notice burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and contact us at 641-628-3621 without delay. 6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee A powerful ammonia odor means there might be mold spreading in 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 wellness. That’s why we recommend having a professional like Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary. Our Specialists Can Take Care of Weird Air Conditioner Smells Fast 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 smelly air conditioner, give us a call at 641-628-3621. We’ll figure out the trouble quickly and fix it at a reasonable.">