What To Do If Your Window Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals or Other Odors

It’s no less than gross to find that your air conditioner exudes a bad smell. It most likely makes you wonder: what is causing the reeking scent, and most importantly, how to eliminate it?

Considering that some types of unpleasant odor may pose risk of hazard, especially if your window Air Conditioner smells like chemicals, it may be necessary to perform quick research on the problem. Learn more about this specific issue below.

Why Does My Window Air Conditioner Smell?

Noticing weird smell when AC turns on? Here are some of the most common pungent types and how to get rid of them accordingly:

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window air conditioner smells like chemicals
  • Musty Mildew

Air conditioning may experience a situation of excess dampness that makes it ooze moisture through the airflow. This can lead to mildew and mold growth if the humidity is trapped within the ductwork.

Examine any blockage or moisture in your AC filter. Otherwise, reach an HVAC professional that can help clean the ductwork and condensate line.

  • Rotten Eggs

Another typical bad smell from the AC system is Sulphur or rotten eggs stench. This is nearly always caused by a single thing: gas leakage inside the house that gets into the ductwork. Natural gas possesses high risks as it can lower oxygen levels in your bloodstream, flare up, or even explode.

If you suspect this is why window air conditioner smells, shut down the gas supply and get everyone out of the house. Contact the gas company to notify them about the leak or call 911.

  • Garbage

Odors that reek like garbage commonly mean there’s an animal’s corpse inside the ductwork, such as a bird, rodent, or other small creatures.

In this case, you need to eliminate the species remains and clear up the AC duct system. Try not to turn on the AC until the problem is eliminated.

  • Exhaust Fumes

Exhaust usually smells only from fossil fuel burning, like gasoline. Detecting such a trace from your AC unit may indicate leakage in the motor or refrigerant component.

To solve the problem, you need to contact an AC repairman and shut down the system in the meantime.

  • Burning

If your window air conditioner smells bad when turned on and you notice a faint burning scent, this typically doesn’t signify a serious problem. Wait for some minutes and see if it will dissipate on its own.

However, a strong sniff of burnt or gunpowder may indicate an overheated motor, short-circuited unit, or sparking frayed wire. Immediately shut off the system, evacuate the house occupants, and contact the fire department. After settling the situation, request a repair or replacement from an HVAC company.

  • Engine coolant

Engine coolant contains a specific ingredient called antifreeze, which smells like freon—a harmful AC refrigerant—in a way that it has a quite sweet scent. If you sniff such an odor within the house, there’s a chance that a freon leak is a culprit.

Put an end to the AC operation and allow fresh air to get inside by opening the windows. Contact an HVAC expert to discover and resolve the leak issue.

Window Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

It has been mentioned above what freon smells like when it is emitted from the AC unit, which is strangely sweet. This potentially indicates a coolant leak that may involve freon, but other coolant types might be used in AC systems other than freon.

Suppose your window Air Conditioner smells like chemicals that awfully mimic freon scents. Follow the recommended steps above. Contact a licensed HVAC technician for repairs if your AC system is still under warranty. If the warranty period is already over, then there’s a possibility that the coolant component has significantly corroded, and the unit may require replacement.

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