When your air conditioner is clean and running correctly, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything weird. Unusual air conditioner noises and weird smells are a clue that something is wrong. If your air conditioner is getting older or you haven’t had service done recently, they can be an obvious sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Sandpoint.

Here are six of the most frequent 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, particularly a chemical smell, it isn’t a great sign. You could also observe your:

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

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

Four Hints You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

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

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is cooling.
  2. Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Trouble keeping your home cold or reaching your programmed temperature.
  4. Increasing electrical costs.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak requires professional assistance from a heating and cooling company like Age Heating & Cooling. Your cooling specialist will find and repair the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages assembled by HomeAdvisor. Your total cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how long it requires to fix.

If your air conditioner was installed earlier than 2010, there’s a high probability it uses R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made because of its adverse effects on the ozone layer. Due to this, repairs can be extremely 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 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 fatal in heavy concentrations.

How You Can Fix It

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

  • Shutting off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside as soon as possible.
  • Contacting your gas company immediately.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who contact us about this problem frequently mention their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is often created by 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 areas where you turn on heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling later on.

How to Repair It

The best method for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely get a new air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Age Heating & Cooling. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, because excess water can also produce noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are dealing with air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it can be caused by several issues, like:

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

How to Fix It

Check 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 resolve the smell, contact Age Heating & Cooling at 208-603-2210.

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 a couple of things wrong. These involve:

  • Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor.
  • Motor that requires lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical malfunctions.

Electrical issues should be examined immediately to stop a fire. If you notice burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, switch it off and reach us at 208-603-2210 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

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

How to Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your well-being. That’s why it’s important to have a pro like Age Heating & Cooling examine your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.

Our Professionals Can Get Rid of Strange Air Conditioner Smells Fast

You deserve to be comfortable in your home and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your smelly air conditioner, give us a call at 208-603-2210. We’ll diagnose the trouble quickly and fix it at a fair price.