Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Like Chemicals?

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A chemical smell can be worrying, especially when it's coming from your air conditioner. An air conditioning unit normally uses different chemicals in its components, most particularly coolant to provide that cool air coming from your AC unit. When the refrigerant leaks, your AC smells like sweet chloroform. This, however, is not the only cause of the chemical odor.

What Causes that Chemical Smell Coming from Air Conditioners?

A refrigerant leak is the most likely source of an air conditioner that smells like chemicals. Depending on the smell, the chemical odor may also come from a natural gas leak, installation residue, cleaning solutions, and more. Here are the top 5 common causes for an air conditioner that smells like chemicals:

Reason #1 Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant is an odorless chemical. However, manufacturers add artificial smells to alert homeowners of a potential leak, which attributes to that chemical-like smell emitted by your air conditioner. Refrigerant leaks affect your indoor air quality, and can be dangerous to your health when inhaled in high concentrations.

A refrigerant leak would often be accompanied with warm air. Your air conditioner can no longer sufficiently cool the room as coolant leaks out of the unit. You will need to have this problem fixed by a Luce Aircon professional HVAC technician to repair the leaking refrigerant.

Reason #2 Natural Gas Leak

Natural gas has no odor, but manufacturers often add a chemical smell to alert homeowners of a leak. Natural gas may have gotten into your air conditioner vents, causing the chemical smell from your air conditioning unit. Shut off your appliances, and call your gas company immediately if you suspect a gas leak.

Reason #3 Ductwork Adhesives

If your air conditioning system is new, the adhesives used in your ductwork may still have a chemical odor that has yet to dissipate. Fortunately, the smell dissipates quickly, but can still be off-putting when you first power on your air conditioning unit. Ductwork adhesives often appear in common central air conditioner smells.

Reason #4 Electrostatic Air Filter

An electrostatic filter helps filter out small pieces of dust and dirt using static energy to trap the debris from getting into your air conditioning unit. They may or may not be connected to an air purifier, but they can leak ozone which would have a chemical-like smell. The chemical smell from the AC system may be due to your filter, so it is best to have our technicians handle it.

Reason #5 Cleaning Chemical Residue

Air conditioners undergo a chemical wash every year or so to keep each internal component clean and in good condition. However, when the chemical wash is done improperly, the cleaning chemicals can leave behind residue that is causing that smell to come from your air conditioner. Always go for reputable services for your aircon cleaning.

How to Get Rid of Chemical Smell

Repair the Refrigerant Leak

Contact us at Luce Aircon, and let us tackle the refrigerant leak. Refrigerant is a potentially hazardous substance, and can be particularly harmful when improperly handled. Our Luce Aircon technicians are experienced in finding leaks, fixing them, and topping up your air conditioner with coolant to keep it running smoothly!

Contact Your Gas Supply Company

If you suspect a gas leak is what is causing the chemical smell from your AC unit, then immediately shut off all electrical devices, and shut off the gas line whenever possible. Call your gas company to find the leak, and repair it before using your gas lines again.

Switch to Regular Filters

While electrostatic filters supposedly cleanse the air better than regular filters, they are in danger of leaking ozone into your home. If you are inexperienced with electrostatic filters, it is best to use regular air filters that are easier to clean and maintain. A separate air purifier may help clean the air much like a filter.

3 Tips to Prevent Air Conditioner Smells

Clean Your Air Conditioner

Cleaning your air conditioner will prevent musty, sour, and chemical odors from your air conditioner, leading to an overall better air quality as the filter and evaporator coil are kept clean. Schedule a deep cleaning with us every 4-6 months for optimal care, and let us ensure the durability of your AC system.

Don't Forgo Aircon Maintenance

Along with general cleaning, your air conditioner would benefit from a checkup and maintenance of its internal components. Our technicians will spot any weak points in your cooling system, and reinforce them before they become bigger problems. This is essential to preventing leaks in the refrigerant line, as well as clogged condensate drain lines.

Only Go for Reputable Air Conditioning Services

Leftover cleaning solutions from a chemical wash is unacceptable for any reputable air conditioner cleaning company. Your technician should provide you with do's and don'ts regarding your air conditioner, as well as care tips to keep your unit in good working condition.

Luce Aircon is a leading aircon servicing and repair company in Singapore! Trust in our excellent and experienced technicians to provide you with top-quality services. Our cleaning and maintenance services offer you an optimized upkeep of your aircon, so you can keep enjoying the cool air!

Check out our article on why ac smells like rotten eggs!

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