Why Does Running the AC Create a Chemical Smell?

Turning on your AC on a hot summer day means a cool, comfortable temperature inside that you can enjoy. But why does a chemical smell sometimes come from the AC unit after turning it on?  There are four main problems that could be the cause of a chemical smell after turning on the AC.  An experienced AC repair technician can take a look at your unit to help determine what exactly is causing this unwanted smell. Comfort Expert Technician

A Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant is absolutely necessary for your AC unit to run properly and cool down the home. Refrigerant is what removes the hot air from the house and blows cold air through the vents.  Refrigerant travels through copper coils, and over time, these copper coils can wear down, causing cracks.  Refrigerant traveling through these copper coils will then leak out through the cracks.  If you smell a sweet, chloroform type smell when you turn on the AC, it is more than likely from the leaky refrigerant.  Other signs of a refrigerant leak include higher than normal energy bills, warm air coming through the vents, ice on your AC lines, or a hissing or bubbling sound coming from outside the AC unit.

New Ductwork

If you have recently had new ductwork installed, the glue from this new ductwork could be the source of the chemical smell in your home.  While this is not a serious problem that requires AC repair, it can be annoying.  There’s not much that can be done to get rid of this smell except wait for the smell to go away over time.

Containers of Chemicals Near the Indoor Air Handler

An AC unit consists of both an outside and an inside unit.  The inside unit is called the air handler and is usually located in the basement of a home.  Where the air handler is located is also commonly used as a storage space.  Sometimes, chemicals stored near the air handler can cause the fumes from chemical containers to blow throughout the home.  Make sure all stored chemicals are sealed tightly or stored in a separate area to avoid a chemical smell in the home.

Air Filters

An electrostatic air filter produces ozone which smells a lot like chlorine.  This could be the source of the chemical odor and could cause trouble breathing.  Lower the setting on your filter to reduce the chemical smell and ozone being released.  An experienced AC repair technician can also help you correct this problem if you are unsure of what to do.

Anytime you are concerned that your AC unit isn’t working as it should, it is important that you call the professionals to ensure everything is working properly and you can have an easy, comfortable summer in your cool, air-conditioned home.  Call Comfort Experts for chemical smells in your home and for all your AC repair needs.