Air conditioners smell musty when turned on. What is the reason behind it? Not only musty but there are many other common strange smells that folks often complain about from their air conditioners, especially when they are on it after a long time.

The question is, what causes a musty smell inside AC units? The purpose of constructing this awareness post is to let you learn how to get rid of bad smells from an air conditioner.

Keep reading to learn what musty means, what causes the musty smell, and what other common AC smells are with a solution to remove them. Voila!

Musty Smell in Air Conditioners – Do I Need Air Conditioning Repair?

“Musty” refers to a stale, moldy, or damp odor, which can come from various sources, including an air conditioner. If you suspect your air conditioner smells musty, you should investigate the possible causes to determine how to address the odor and solve the problem.

A musty odor usually indicates contaminants in your air conditioning system. Bacterial growth thrives in your system due to its dark and humid environment.

Another reason why an air conditioner smells musty is clogged filters. As part of routine maintenance, change the AC filters at least once every three months. Other indicators that it’s time to change the AC filter include an increase in energy bills, dust near the registers, and an increase in allergy symptoms.

How Can It Be Fixed?

Whether it’s your window AC smell musty or the central air conditioner, the best way to avoid the musty smell from air conditioners is to replace your air filter regularly and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Services Tech.

We will clean the evaporator coil and keep the drainage system flowing, as standing water can also create nasty odors.

Why do Air Conditioners Smell Musty When First Turned On?

Below are a few possible reasons for a musty smell

1. Mold or mildew may be present in the vents or ducts.

When you notice a musty odor wafting through the house, you may panic and wonder, “How does mold smell?” Mold and mildew can give off that musty odor, so inspect (or hire someone to inspect) the vents or ducts for signs of growth.

Mold and mildew in an air conditioner or ductwork can pose a health risk to residents. When inhaled, mold spores can cause headaches, sore throats, and respiratory distress.

2. A full drain pan can produce a musty odor

If a house smells musty but has no mold, check to see if the drain pan is full. A water-filled pan can indicate a clogged drainpipe, leading to serious problems.

Because leaving a full drain pan can result in flooding or mold and bacteria growth, you should regularly check and empty AC drain pans. Most air conditioners have two drain pans: one beneath the indoor evaporator coils and another beneath the auxiliary pan.

3. Musty odors can be Due to frozen evaporator coils or a clogged drain line.

A musty odor from an air conditioner can indicate frozen evaporator coils or a clogged drain line. If the evaporator coils to freeze and is not treated, it can lead to costly repairs. Ice outside the refrigerant line, condensation and moisture around the air handler, a full condensate drain pan, and noticeable ice around coils are all signs of frozen evaporator coils.

If you notice any of these symptoms, turn off the thermostat and power to the unit and call an HVAC repair technician.

Apart from musty, people often complain of other bad smells in their air conditioners, which they assume is a dominant sign asking for air conditioning repairs in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Bad smells don’t denote the need for repair only, but they can be fixed by other means.

How to Get Rid of Bad Smells From Air Conditioners?

1. AC Smells Like Chemicals

When you turn on your air conditioner, it smells like a chemical odor. You might also notice that your:

  • The air conditioner smells strongly of paint thinner.
  • The aroma of the home air conditioner is pleasant.

These sweet, chemical odors frequently indicate that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can corrode over time.

These sweet, chemical odors frequently indicate that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to move heat through copper coils, which can corrode over time.

How Can You Fix It?

Repairing a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, depending on location and severity, and requires skilled assistance from a heating and cooling company.

2. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you smell mildew in your air conditioner or a pungent, vinegar-like odor, it could be due to several issues, including:

  • A clogged filter
  • Excessive condensation
  • Condensate pan or drain line clog
  • Air conditioner or ductwork mold

How to fix it?

First, inspect your filter. It’s time to replace it if you haven’t changed it in the last three months and can’t see the light through it.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If you have a burning air conditioner smell or your air conditioner smells like fish, there could be a couple of issues. These are as follows:

The motor is overheating due to a faulty capacitator.

  • An engine requires lubrication.
  • The fan belt is broken.
  • There is an electrical problem.

Do not take a risk fixing electrical problems at home. If you smell burning plastic while your air conditioner is running, turn it off and call professional right away. If you’re dealing with an air conditioner burning smell or your air conditioner smells like fish, there could be some things wrong. These entail:

  • Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor.
  • Motor that needs lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical issue.

Electrical problems should be checked right away to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is on, switch it off and reach us at 314-262-4541

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A powerful ammonia odor means there might be mold flourishing inside your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell is not the mold itself but the mycotoxins that mold creates.

How to Repair It?

Hire an expert to identify the source of a musty smell and make any repairs. Exploring an AC unit requires understanding the system to avoid more expensive issues or damages.

Contact Services Tech for Quality AC Service in Central Florida

Services Tech AC is counted among most reputable Air conditioning repair and AC installation Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Our experienced HVAC technicians have the proper training and equipment to find and remedy areas of concern. Hiring a professional will also ensure you are not missing mold or mildew growth—which can harm your health and well-being.

Previous Post

Is It Bad to Leave My Windows Open When the AC is On?