When your air conditioner is spotless and operating properly, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything strange. Unusual air conditioner noises and strange smells are a sign that something is off. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had a tune-up scheduled lately, they can be a clear sign you need skilled air conditioning repair in Manassas.
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, it isn’t a positive sign. You could also observe 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 relies on this gas to transfer heat through copper coils, which can wear out as time passes.
Four Clues You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak
Aside from the weird smell, here are four other signs that you have a refrigerant leak.
- Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is operating.
- Ice crystals on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
- It’s hard keeping your residence cool or having your desired temperature.
- High utility expenses.
How You Can Repair It
A refrigerant leak requires experienced assistance from a heating and cooling company like Fire & Ice HVAC. Your cooling pro will pinpoint and repair the leak before recharging your air conditioner with refrigerant.
Resolving a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages compiled by HomeAdvisor. Your total cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how many hours it needs to repair.
If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, it’s likely it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being made because of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. As a result, repairs can be significantly expensive so it may be wisest to consider air conditioning installation in this situation.
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 home. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to signal you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be toxic in heavy concentrations.
How You Can Repair It
If you notice a sulfur or rotten egg odor, we recommend:
- Shutting off your gas supply.
- Opening windows.
- Going outside promptly.
- Calling your gas company immediately.
3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty
People who reach us regarding this issue usually report 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 created 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 areas where you need heating at night and during the morning before turning on cooling during the afternoon.
How to Solve It
The best way to prevent dirty sock syndrome is to routinely get a new air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with Fire & Ice HVAC. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, since stagnant water can also lead to noxious odors.
4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar
If you are living with air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it could be the result of several situations, including:
- A dirty filter
- Excess condensation
- Blocked condensate pan or drain line
- Moldy air conditioner or ductwork
How to Fix It
Examine 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 problem, contact Fire & Ice HVAC at 703-595-4157.
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 entail:
- Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor.
- Motor that requires lubrication.
- Broken fan belt.
- Electrical problem.
Electrical issues should be examined quickly to avoid a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, shut it off and call us at 703-595-4157 without delay.
6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee
An overpowering ammonia odor means there could be mold flourishing in 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 wellness. That’s why you should have a professional like Fire & Ice HVAC check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when necessary.
Our Pros Can Take Care of Unpleasant Air Conditioner Smells Quickly
You deserve to be comfortable in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are looking for relief from your noxious air conditioner, give us a call at 703-595-4157. We’ll diagnose the trouble quickly and fix it at a competitive.