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

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and working properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything weird. Unexpected air conditioner noises and odd smells are a clue that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is past its prime or you haven’t had a tune-up done lately, they can be a clear sign you need professional air conditioning repair in St. Louis.

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 good sign. You may also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical odors are regularly a hint that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system relies on this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can break out as time passes.

4 Hints You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

Aside from the strange 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 crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your house cold or achieving your programmed temperature.
  4. High energy bills.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak requires skilled assistance from a heating and cooling company like Morgner Inc. Air Conditioning & Heating. Your cooling pro will pinpoint and mend the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

Repairing a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, per 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 prior to 2010, there’s a good chance it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured because of its damaging effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be very expensive so it may be smartest to schedule air conditioning installation in this circumstance.

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 alert you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be deadly in big amounts.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Leaving your home promptly.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who reach us to report this problem frequently mention their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s running. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is often caused 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 typical in climates where you use heating at night and during the morning before switching to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Solve It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to regularly get a new air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Morgner Inc. Air Conditioning & Heating. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, as standing water can also create nasty odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

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

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

How to Fix It

Inspect 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 fix the issue, contact Morgner Inc. Air Conditioning & Heating at 314-262-4541.

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 couple of things wrong. These entail:

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

Electrical problems should be checked right away to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, switch it off and reach us at 314-262-4541 right away.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why it’s important to have a specialist like Morgner Inc. Air Conditioning & Heating examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Pros Can Get Rid of Unpleasant Air Conditioner Smells Fast

You deserve to be comfy in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your smelly air conditioner, contact us at 314-262-4541. We’ll diagnose the trouble quickly and take care of it at a competitive.