6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Fix Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and operating properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything strange. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and weird smells are a clue that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had a tune-up scheduled lately, they can be a clear sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Laguna Niguel.

Here are six of the top air conditioner smells and how you can solve them.

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, especially a chemical scent, isn’t a positive sign. You may also report your:

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

These sweet, chemical smells are regularly a sign that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system needs this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can break out as time goes on.

4 Clues You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

In addition to the weird smell, here are four other hints that you have a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is operating.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your house comfortable or having your set temperature.
  4. Higher energy expenses.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak calls for experienced repairs from a heating and cooling company like Ocean Air Conditioning and Heating . Your cooling specialist will locate and repair the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, based on nationwide averages compiled by HomeAdvisor. Your total 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 prior to 2010, there’s a high probability it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured as a result of its damaging effects on the ozone layer. As a consequence, repairs can be extremely 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 probably nothing wrong with it. But there’s a high chance you have a natural gas leak in your house. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, as 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.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Contacting your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who reach us to report this issue frequently report 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 usually 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 climates where you need heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Solve It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to regularly change your air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with Ocean Air Conditioning and Heating . We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, since standing water can also result in unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it might be the result of several issues, such as:

  • A filthy filter
  • Excess condensation
  • Plugged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Resolve It

Inspect your filter first. If you haven’t replaced it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t fix the smell, contact Ocean Air Conditioning and Heating at 949-525-9119.

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 should have lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical issue.

Electrical malfunctions should be inspected immediately to prevent a fire. If you notice burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, switch it off and contact us at 949-525-9119 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your wellness. That’s why you should have a professional like Ocean Air Conditioning and Heating look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Professionals Can Take Care of Odd Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be cozy in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your noxious air conditioner, contact us at 949-525-9119. We’ll diagnose the issue quickly and resolve it at a reasonable.