6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Decoded and How to Repair Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and operating properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything strange. Abnormal air conditioner noises and odd smells are a sign that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had maintenance scheduled within the last year, they can be a clear sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Neptune City.

Here are six of the most common air conditioner smells and how you can resolve them.

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, especially a chemical scent, isn’t a great sign. You could also observe your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents are typically 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 Hints You Have a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your residence cold or reaching your desired temperature.
  4. Higher energy costs.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak needs skilled repairs from a heating and cooling company like Aggressive Mechanical. Your cooling technician will pinpoint and mend the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak usually 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 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 produced due to its negative effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be smartest 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 good probability you have a natural gas leak in your residence. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be deadly in big amounts.

How You Can Solve It

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

  • Shutting off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company immediately.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who call us about this situation often share their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently created by a filthy evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Condensation can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most often seen in areas where you use heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling later on.

How to Solve It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to frequently get a new air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with Aggressive Mechanical. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, as stagnant water can also produce unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are dealing with air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it might be caused by several situations, including:

  • A clogged filter
  • Too much condensation
  • Clogged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Fix It

Examine 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 resolve the smell, call Aggressive Mechanical at 732-806-5536.

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 involve:

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

Electrical issues should be inspected quickly to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, switch it off and call us at 732-806-5536 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A strong ammonia odor means there may be mold growing 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 Aggressive Mechanical look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Pros Can Get Rid of Weird Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be comfortable in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are looking for relief from your smelly air conditioner, contact us at 732-806-5536. We’ll figure out the trouble quickly and resolve it at a fair price.