Why Does My Central Air Conditioner Smell Like Chemicals?
Suppose you have started to notice a very distinctive “chemical” smell each time your AC kicks on. In that case, it is probably not pleasant and also worrisome.
So what is the cause of it? If your AC has started to emit a chemical smell, then it could have to do with one or more of these issues:
– A Refrigerant Leak
– A container of chemicals that are open close to the indoor air-handler
– Mold on the evaporator coils
If you would like to pinpoint the exact problem, then keep on reading to figure out what you are smelling.
If you are not interested in finding out more, and you prefer to hire an AC to repair professional, call us today.
The Smell: An ether-like, or sweet, chloroform scent.
The Issue: A refrigerant leak
Refrigerants are chemicals used in an AC to absorb warmth and heat from the interior of your home. When your AC is operating smoothly, the refrigerant will travel through enclosed copper coils. Sometimes, wear-and-tear can cause the copper coils to crack, which can allow the refrigerant to escape.
As the leak becomes larger, you will start noticing a chemical smell (the oil that is combined with refrigerant as a lubricant).
It is obvious that your AC is leaking refrigerant when:
– Your AC struggles to keep your home cool
– Your energy bills start to increase
– You can hear a hissing or bubbling noise that comes from the coils
– Ice has started to build up the evaporator coils or refrigerant lines
Note: If you own an electronic air-cleaner, this could also be where the smell is coming from. Electronic air cleaners produce ozone that has a subtle sweet scent.
The Solution: Ask a professional AC repairman to find and repair the leak before you recharge the system with more refrigerant.
The Smell: An acidic, ammonia, or musty smell
The Issue: Mold on the evaporator coil
Evaporator coils in an indoor AC unit are what cools the air. These coils are structured webs of coils filled with refrigerant that absorb moisture and heat from the air. As time goes by, moisture (that mixes with dirt on the coils) can result in mildew or mold growth.
The ammonia or musty smell comes from “mycotoxins,” a type of metabolic byproduct of mildew and mold.
The Solution: Ask a professional AC technician to check the evaporator coil for mildew and mold. After cleaning the coils, the technician can also check whether the mold has spread into the ductwork.
The Smell: Paint, household chemicals, or cleaning supplies
The Issue: An open container of a chemical close to the indoor air handler.
In many of Florida’s homes, indoor air handlers (the part of an AC that blows cold air into your home) is situated either in a basement, attic, or interior closet. Many homeowners also use these spaces for storing other supplies like household cleaners or paint. If any of these containers are opened, the indoor air handler may pull the fumes from these chemicals inside the unit and then blow them directly into your house.
The Solution: Locate the air handler and check if any containers are open and close to the unit. Secure the containers or move them out of that space.
If you cannot locate the chemical smell or its source, contact All Time Air Conditioning. We will send a professional and experienced AC technician to locate where the chemicals scent is coming from and provide you with the correct method to remove it.