During those hot summer months, your air conditioner can seem like your best friend. As the temperature outside heats up, having a properly functioning AC is essential. It’s important to make sure that your air conditioner is in top shape in order to avoid any problems when you need it most.

However, what if your AC seems to be working well but you notice a strange smell that emanates when it runs? You’re looking for relief from the heat but along with it, you’re getting a foul odor. You rush to turn off the air conditioner because you just want that smell to go away.

The last thing anyone expects when they use their air conditioner is a bad smell. It’s not exactly the type of problem one expects they’re going to have to deal with in their effort to cool their house. Yet, it is actually a fairly common occurrence.

Strange smells coming from your air conditioner are a sign that something isn’t quite right. There are a few different problems that could be causing the stench in your AC. Understanding the reasons for the bad smell and what to do about them can help you ensure your air conditioner is safe and ready to keep you cool.


Why Your Air Conditioner Smells And What You Can Do About It

Anytime you notice an odd smell coming from your air conditioner while it is running, be aware that something is wrong. In order to use your air conditioner without potentially hazardous consequences, it’s important that you figure out what is causing the smells and find air conditioning repair in Los Angeles.

Using an air conditioner that has a strange smell is concerning, especially since some of the reasons for ac smells may be dangerous. By understanding the cause of your smell, you can be prepared and ready to take action.
You will be able to pinpoint the reason for your AC’s smell by determining what you are smelling. Different problems cause different smells, making it fairly easy to discover the problem and how to fix it.

Check Out These Common Air Conditioner Smells To Diagnose Your System And Get It Fixed:

Smell of Chemicals

When summer arrives, you’ll want to turn on your ac to cool down. You probably aren’t expecting an overwhelming chemical scent wafting through the air.

If you notice a sweet, chemical smell when you’re running your air conditioner, there is most likely a leak in your refrigerant. The refrigerant is needed for transporting heat through the AC’s copper coils. As the system ages, the coils can break down, which can cause the refrigerant to leak.

You may also notice a hissing sound when your system is running, ice on your system’s coils, or difficulty sustaining the temperature in your home.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Refrigerant Is Leaking:

If you are experiencing signs of a refrigerant leak, you’ll need help from an experienced air conditioning repair service in Los Angeles, such as American AC Heat Plumbing. You will need to have your leak found and repaired, and more refrigerants will need to be added to your system. Have your leak checked on right away to minimize severity and costs.

● Smells Like Feet

If your air conditioner reeks of feet, dirty socks, or an old, musty smell, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing mold, mildew, or bacteria build up on your evaporator coil. This often happens if the air conditioner is run during the day, while heating is needed at night and in the morning.

What To Do If You Suspect You Have A Dirty Evaporator Coil:

You can reduce the chance of a dirty evaporator coil with air conditioning maintenance, as well as by regularly changing your air filter. If you have a dirty evaporator coil, have it cleaned and unclogged by the team of experts at American AC Heat Plumbing.

Smell of Vinegar

The scent of vinegar can be a huge bother to anyone trying to run their air conditioner. There are multiple causes of that pungent, vinegary odor, including mold on the air conditioner or ductwork, clogged air filters, excess condensation, or a blocked drain line or pan.

What To Do If Your Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar:

If you notice the smell of vinegar coming from your AC, you can do some routine checks yourself. Start by replacing your air filter if you haven’t done so in the past three months. If it’s newer but you are unable to see light through it, you’ll want to replace it anyway. Once you’ve inspected and, if necessary, replacing your air filter, test out the system. If it’s still releasing a vinegar smell, get quality AC repair by contacting American AC Heat Plumbing for an inspection.

Smell of Rotten Eggs

Do you notice a rotten egg smell when you turn your air conditioner on? There’s a good chance an animal has died in your air ducts. Oftentimes, animals will nest in air ducts over the winter months. Unfortunately, they can also die and begin to decompose, causing a horrible rotting smell when you start the air conditioner up in the summer.

What To Do If You Have A Rotten Egg Smell In Your Air Conditioner:

If you are smelling rotten eggs when you turn your AC on, contact American AC Heat Plumbing for duct cleaning. We will remove any dead animals or other foreign items in your air ducts and make sure it’s working perfectly.

Smell Of Burnt Plastic

When the heat arrives, it’s time to turn your air conditioner on and get comfortable. If you get a whiff of burnt plastic, it’s a sure sign that something could be wrong.

It’s never a good sign to smell something burning in your appliances. A burnt smell coming from your air conditioner could have a variety of causes, including electrical malfunctions, an overheated motor due to a broken capacitor, a broken fan belt, or an unlubricated motor. Many of these issues have the potential to cause fires and should be dealt with right away in order to avoid dangers.

What To Do If Your Air Conditioner Has A Burnt Scent:

When it comes to electrical problems, fire prevention is key. Have your system checked out immediately in order to get any needed maintenance and repair.

Smell of Urine

When you turn your air conditioner on, the last thing you want to smell is urine. Unfortunately, certain issues can cause that strong ammonia smell. Mold in your AC or ductwork lets off dangerous mycotoxins that are extremely bad for your health.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Air Conditioner Has Mold:

If you smell a strong scent of ammonia when you run your AC, there’s a good chance you have mold in your system. The fix for this begins by contacting American AC Heat Plumbing right away. We will provide an inspection and deep cleaning of your air conditioner and ductwork to ensure it is safe for you and your family.

Smell of Skunk

Things are starting to heat up outside and you’re ready to turn on your air conditioner. As soon as the air kicks in, you start smelling that awful, tell-tale smell of skunk.

If you have a skunk-like scent permeating your home when you run your air conditioner, your system could have a gas leak of methyl mercaptan. The gas is very dangerous and needs to be addressed right away.

What To Do If You Suspect A Gas Leak In Your AC:

Gas leaks put you at risk. If you smell a skunk-like smell, evacuate your home and contact American AC Heat Plumbing for an emergency inspection. Our professional team will be able to diagnose and repair your system to keep you and your family safe.

The Final Word

You need a properly functioning air conditioner to stay comfortable, safe, and healthy each summer. Your sense of smell can alert you that something may be wrong. With a bit of awareness and knowledge, you can take care of any issues and make sure your air conditioner is in great shape. Contact American AC Heat Plumbing and keep your air conditioner running well when you need it most.


James Smith

As you can tell from our humble beginnings in 1981, we began as a family-owned business and stayed a locally owned air conditioning and heating company in Los Angeles county for nearly 40 years.