6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Explained and How to Repair Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and operating correctly, it’s not normal to be smelling anything weird. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and weird smells are a hint that something is off. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had a tune-up done recently, they can be an obvious sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Long Beach.

Here are six of the most common 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 scent, isn’t a good sign. You may also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents are frequently a sign that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system relies on this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can crack over time.

4 Clues You Have a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your house cold or achieving your set temperature.
  4. Higher electrical expenses.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak calls for professional assistance from a heating and cooling company like YES R&M Inc.. Your cooling technician will find and mend the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.

Repairing a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, per nationwide averages compiled by HomeAdvisor. Your exact cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it requires to solve.

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, it’s likely it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made as a result of its adverse effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be very expensive so it may be wisest 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 good probability you have a natural gas leak in your home. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be toxic in large amounts.

How You Can Fix It

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

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

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who reach us to report this problem often mention 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 often 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 locations 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 regularly get a new air filter and schedule annual air conditioning maintenance with YES R&M Inc.. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, since excess water can also result in noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it can be caused by several problems, 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, it’s time to replace it. If that doesn’t fix the issue, call YES R&M Inc. at 562-286-6624.

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 a number of things wrong. These involve:

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

Electrical problems should be examined right away to stop a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and reach us at 562-286-6624 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why we recommend having a pro like YES R&M Inc. examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Pros Can Take Care of Unpleasant Air Conditioner Smells Fast

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 562-286-6624. We’ll figure out the issue quickly and resolve it at a competitive.