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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and operating properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything weird. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and odd smells are a clue that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had a tune-up completed recently, they can be an obvious sign you need pro air conditioning repair in Suffolk/Nassau County.

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, specifically a chemical smell, isn’t a great sign. You may also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical odors 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 Clues You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is operating.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your residence cool or having your programmed temperature.
  4. High energy expenses.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak requires experienced support from a heating and cooling company like Airmax Long Island Inc. Your cooling professional will find and repair the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages assembled by HomeAdvisor. Your precise cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how many hours it takes to solve.

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, there’s a good chance it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured because of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Because of this, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be smartest to do 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 high 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, since the gas can be toxic in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Solve It

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

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

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who call us to report this situation 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 created by a grubby 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 often seen in locations where you need heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling later in the day.

How to Solve It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to routinely replace your air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with Airmax Long Island Inc. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, as standing water can also result in noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are living with air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it can be prompted by several problems, such as:

  • A filthy filter
  • Extra condensation
  • Clogged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Repair It

Check 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 solve the problem, call Airmax Long Island Inc at 631-737-5566.

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 involve:

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

Electrical issues should be examined right away to avoid a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, switch it off and contact us at 631-737-5566 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why we recommend having a specialist like Airmax Long Island Inc check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Professionals Can Take Care of Weird Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be cozy in your home and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your stinky air conditioner, give us a call at 631-737-5566. We’ll determine the trouble quickly and take care of it at a fair price.