Your air conditioner gives off distinctive odors sometimes when the parts malfunction. Bad wiring smells like burning plastic and dirty equipment might smell like dirty socks. You might also notice a chemical odor around your air conditioner or coming from the vents. Here are a few things that can cause your AC to smell like chemicals and the repairs the air conditioner might need.
Ozone Odor From An Electrostatic Filter
If you had an electrostatic filter put in your HVAC to clean the air in your home, a chemical odor might come from it if it isn't set right or if it malfunctions. Electrostatic filters can create ozone, but the level of ozone should never be so high that you detect a chemical odor.
If this happens, call your air conditioning repair service to check the equipment. The settings might need to be adjusted or have repairs done so the filter operates properly. Ozone is an irritant that might bother your respiratory system, so you don't want to put off having repairs done.
Odor From Leaking Refrigerant
A common cause of a chemical odor is leaking refrigerant. Refrigerant leaks can develop in the condenser coils, evaporator coils, and the copper tubing that connects the two sets of coils. A common place for leaks to develop is at the connections in the lines. If the leak is indoors, you might notice the odor when you get near the air handler. You might even see a small puddle of liquid on the floor. The odor also gets pulled in the HVAC and wafts out the vents throughout your home.
An air conditioning repair person needs to locate the leak so it can be repaired or all the refrigerant will leak out and pollute your home. If a connection is just loose, the problem might be fixed by tightening the tube to the coils. However, the technician might need to replace coils, patch in new tubing, or plug a hole.
Once that's done, the refrigerant has to be replaced. A refrigerant leak can be an expensive air conditioning repair to deal with since you also have the expense of replacing the refrigerant. However, the AC can't keep your home cool without refrigerant, so it's an essential repair that keeps your equipment working properly.
Odors Pulled In From Your Home
You may need to distinguish between odors coming from your air conditioning equipment and the odors your air conditioner just spreads through your house. For instance, if a smoker lives in the house, the ducts and AC equipment might have an odor from old cigarette smoke that's spread around every time the AC kicks on.
The air conditioner can spread household odors from mildew, stored chemicals, new flooring, and anything else that has a strong odor. It may be difficult to pinpoint the odor other than it smells vaguely like chemicals when the AC kicks on. In this case, you might need to clean your home and have your HVAC and ducts cleaned and sanitized to get rid of old odors.
Contact a local HVAC contractor to learn more about air conditioning repair.