6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Fix Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is fresh and operating right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything weird. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and weird smells are a hint that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had maintenance scheduled lately, they can be a sure sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Rapid City.

Here are six of the top 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, specifically a chemical scent, isn’t a great sign. You may also observe your:

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

These sweet, chemical scents are frequently a clue that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system needs this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can wear out over time.

4 Signs You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

Besides the weird smell, here are four other hints that you are experiencing a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is on.
  2. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your home cool or reaching your desired temperature.
  4. High electrical costs.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak needs skilled repairs from a heating and cooling company like Street Heating and Cooling. 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, per nationwide averages put together 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 early than 2010, it’s likely it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured because of its adverse effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be best 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 significant likelihood 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 deadly in large amounts.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Call your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who reach us about this issue often say their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is typically caused by 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 climates where you use heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Solve It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely change your air filter and schedule regular air conditioning maintenance with Street Heating and Cooling. 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 a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it might be prompted by several problems, such as:

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

How to Solve It

Examine your filter first. If you haven’t changed it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, we recommend replacing it. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, call Street Heating and Cooling at 605-206-3915.

5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If you’re noticing an air conditioner burning smell or that your air conditioner smells like fish, there could be several things wrong. These entail:

  • Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor.
  • Motor that should have lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical problem.

Electrical malfunctions should be examined right away to avoid a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and contact us at 605-206-3915 without delay.

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 makes.

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why you should have a specialist like Street Heating and Cooling look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended.

Our Pros Can Eliminate Strange Air Conditioner Smells Quickly

You deserve to be comfortable in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 605-206-3915. We’ll diagnose the issue quickly and take care of it at a reasonable.

When your air conditioner is fresh and operating right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything weird. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and weird smells are a hint that something is out of whack. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had maintenance scheduled lately, they can be a sure sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Rapid City. Here are six of the top 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, specifically a chemical scent, isn’t a great sign. You may also observe your: Air conditioner smells like paint thinner Home air conditioner smells sweet These sweet, chemical scents are frequently a clue that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak. Your system needs this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can wear out over time. 4 Signs You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak Besides the weird smell, here are four other hints that you are experiencing a refrigerant leak. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is on. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil. Difficulty keeping your home cool or reaching your desired temperature. High electrical costs. How You Can Fix It A refrigerant leak needs skilled repairs from a heating and cooling company like Street Heating and Cooling. 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, per nationwide averages put together 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 early than 2010, it’s likely it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured because of its adverse effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be best 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 significant likelihood 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 deadly in large amounts. How You Can Fix It If you smell a sulfur or rotten egg odor, we recommend: Switching off your gas supply. Opening windows. Going outside as soon as possible. Call your gas company now. 3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty Homeowners who reach us about this issue often say their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also called dirty sock syndrome, this smell is typically caused by 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 climates where you use heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling during the afternoon. How to Solve It The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely change your air filter and schedule regular air conditioning maintenance with Street Heating and Cooling. 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 a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it might be prompted by several problems, such as: A dirty filter Too much condensation Clogged condensate pan or drain line Moldy air conditioner or ductwork How to Solve It Examine your filter first. If you haven’t changed it within the last three months and can’t see light through it, we recommend replacing it. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, call Street Heating and Cooling at 605-206-3915. 5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic If you’re noticing an air conditioner burning smell or that your air conditioner smells like fish, there could be several things wrong. These entail: Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor. Motor that should have lubrication. Broken fan belt. Electrical problem. Electrical malfunctions should be examined right away to avoid a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and contact us at 605-206-3915 without delay. 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 makes. How to Solve It Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why you should have a specialist like Street Heating and Cooling look at your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when recommended. Our Pros Can Eliminate Strange Air Conditioner Smells Quickly You deserve to be comfortable in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 605-206-3915. We’ll diagnose the issue quickly and take care of it at a reasonable.">