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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and working right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything strange. Abnormal air conditioner noises and odd smells are a sign that something is off. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had a tune-up completed lately, they can be an obvious sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Muskogee.

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, particularly a chemical odor, isn’t a good sign. You may also report 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 suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can wear out over time.

4 Signs You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your home cold or achieving your desired temperature.
  4. Increasing electrical expenses.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak needs experienced support from a heating and cooling company like Hix Air Conditioning Service, Inc.. Your cooling pro will locate and fix the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Repairing a refrigerant leak typically 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 long 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 made due to its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be very 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 likely nothing wrong with it. But there’s a significant likelihood you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be deadly in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Solve It

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

  • Shutting off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Leaving your home right away.
  • Contacting your gas company immediately.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who reach us about this issue usually share their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s running. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is usually created by a filthy evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Excess water 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 switching to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Fix It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely replace your air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Hix Air Conditioning Service, Inc.. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, as stagnant water can also lead to 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 the result of several issues, such as:

  • A filthy filter
  • Too much condensation
  • Blocked 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, we recommend replacing it. If that doesn’t fix the smell, contact Hix Air Conditioning Service, Inc. at 918-682-8238.

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 malfunctions.

Electrical malfunctions should be checked quickly to stop a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, shut it off and contact us at 918-682-8238 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering ammonia odor means there could be mold flourishing in your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell isn’t the mold itself, but the mycotoxins that mold makes.

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why you should have a professional like Hix Air Conditioning Service, Inc. examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Pros Can Take Care of Odd Air Conditioner Smells Fast

You deserve to be comfortable in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your smelly air conditioner, reach us at 918-682-8238. We’ll determine the problem quickly and fix it at a fair price.