6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Fix Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and working properly, you shouldn’t be smelling anything weird. Out of the ordinary air conditioner noises and strange smells are a clue that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is past its prime or you haven’t had maintenance completed recently, they can be a clear sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Beaverton.

Here are six of the most frequent air conditioner smells and how you can repair them.

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, especially 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 odors are typically a sign that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system needs this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can wear out as time goes on.

4 Signs You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner runs.
  2. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your house comfortable or reaching your programmed temperature.
  4. High electrical costs.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak calls for skilled support from a heating and cooling company like Garoken Energy Co. Inc.. Your cooling pro will locate and repair the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak often costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages compiled by HomeAdvisor. Your exact cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it needs to fix.

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, it’s likely it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made because of its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Because of this, repairs can be very expensive so it may be best to consider air conditioning installation in this circumstance.

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 good chance you have a natural gas leak in your residence. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be toxic in big amounts.

How You Can Repair It

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

  • Turning off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Leaving your home as soon as possible.
  • Getting in touch with your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Homeowners who call us to report this issue frequently share their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it’s on. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is usually caused by a grubby 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 locations where you turn on heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling later in the day.

How to Solve It

The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to regularly get a new air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Garoken Energy Co. Inc.. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unclogged, since standing water can also result in noxious 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 situations, such as:

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

How to Resolve It

Check your filter first. If you haven’t put in a new one within the last three months and can’t see light through it, it’s time to replace it. If that doesn’t solve the issue, call Garoken Energy Co. Inc. at 503-374-1934.

5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If you’re experiencing 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 trouble.

Electrical malfunctions should be inspected immediately to stop a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, turn it off and contact us at 503-374-1934 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Repair It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why it’s important to have a professional like Garoken Energy Co. Inc. examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Professionals Can Eliminate Unpleasant 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 503-374-1934. We’ll figure out the problem quickly and take care of it at a fair price.