6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Decoded and How to Repair Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and working right, you shouldn’t be smelling anything odd. Abnormal air conditioner noises and strange smells are a hint that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is aging or you haven’t had service done recently, they can be an obvious sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Hattiesburg.

Here are six of the most common 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 odor, isn’t a positive sign. You could also notice your:

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

These sweet, chemical smells are often a sign that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can break out as time passes.

4 Hints You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Besides the odd smell, here are four other clues that you are dealing with a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your residence cool or having your set temperature.
  4. High energy expenses.

How You Can Take Care of It

A refrigerant leak needs skilled assistance from a heating and cooling company like Oak Grove Heating & Air Conditioning. Your cooling professional will pinpoint and fix the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

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

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a good chance it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured due to its negative effects on the ozone layer. Consequently, repairs can be very expensive so it may be best to schedule air conditioning installation in this instance.

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 significant likelihood you have a natural gas leak in your home. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to alert you when there’s a leak, since the gas can be deadly in big amounts.

How You Can Solve It

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

  • Shutting off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside promptly.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who reach us about this situation usually say their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s running. Also referred to as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is often linked to a dirty evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Moisture 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 switching to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Fix It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to frequently replace your air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Oak Grove Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, because excess water can also produce unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are experiencing air conditioner mildew smell or a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it could be prompted by several issues, such as:

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

How to Solve It

Check your filter first. If you haven’t changed it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t fix the issue, reach Oak Grove Heating & Air Conditioning at 601-292-9763.

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 problems should be inspected quickly to stop a fire. If you notice burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, switch it off and reach us at 601-292-9763 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Repair It

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

Our Pros Can Get Rid of Odd Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be comfortable in your residence and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your noxious air conditioner, reach us at 601-292-9763. We’ll diagnose the problem quickly and take care of it at a fair price.