You’ve just purchased a new air conditioning unit, and you’re excited to get your house nice and cool; but, oh no! When the AC kicks on, it smells really funky. The smell of chemicals and plastic hits you directly in the face.
New air conditioners often have a plastic chemical smell. This is because of the time they’ve spent in storage. The best way to get rid of it is to leave it in a well-ventilated area and allow the smell to dissipate over time, usually around a week.
Let’s talk about all the smells your new AC may have and how you can help eliminate some of them.
1. The “I’m Brand New” Smell
Chances are if you’re reading this article, you want to know about the brand new air conditioner smell. Usually, this odor is semi-strong but not overwhelming. You’ll find the same scent with nearly all new appliances.
Whenever you open up a new appliance, you get hit with all the smells from weeks or months of storage and construction odor. This will typically smell a bit like sweet chemicals and plastic.
Like I said before, the best thing you can do to beat out this smell is to give the air conditioner some air. Put it in a well-ventilated area and allow the smell to dissipate. This can take upwards of a week, but usually, the odor is at least sixty percent gone after just a couple of days.
You can also utilize good old-fashioned baking soda for a window unit. Baking soda is kind of an “odor cure-all” and has been used to neutralize foul odors for years. You’ll want to be careful with air conditioning units, though, so that you don’t damage any of the internal components.
Simply mix a baking soda and water paste and apply it all over your AC. To eliminate the smell, you’ll need to take the air conditioner apart and get the baking soda in the inner workings of it. Be sure to rinse the AC with a damp rag afterward and allow it to dry thoroughly before putting it back together.
2. Other Offensive Smells You Might Encounter
If your air conditioner is a hand-me-down, there are a lot of smells you may encounter. These odors can make themselves known immediately after turning on the air conditioning unit, or it may take a few hours of running it for the smell to show up.
Let’s take a look at some of these odors and what you can do to remedy the situation.
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Mold and Mildew Smell
Mold and mildew are prevalent occurrences for air conditioning units that have been left in storage units for long periods or have been exposed to water either through rain or being left in a damp area.
You’ll know mold is the problem if your AC starts to smell really musty. Air conditioners with a mold problem often begin to develop black or green spotting, though sometimes this is only visible inside the unit.
How To Fix It?
If you’ve got a mold problem on your hands, the AC unit will need to be thoroughly cleaned. You’ll want to take everything apart and wash it with hot water and soap until all traces of the mold are gone.
The best option in this situation is to get it professionally inspected and then cleaned to ensure the mold is gone. This is especially true because air conditioners are cycling air through and blowing it into your home, and blowing mold spores around will only make your home’s mold problem worse.
Often, when an air conditioner has been sitting for some time, it has collected dust. When you first turn on an air conditioner that has been out of use, there’s typically a burning smell associated with it. This smell isn’t necessarily anything to be concerned about. The AC is simply burning off some of the dust that’s been collected over time. This smell should dissipate within an hour.
However, if the odor doesn’t go away, you likely have an issue with some of the unit’s inner workings. This can include problems with the compressor, wiring, and fan motors.
How To Fix It?
The first thing you’ll want to do is turn off and unplug your air conditioner. You don’t want to start a fire in your house!
This is generally not a problem you want to try to fix on your own. Electrical repair is tricky, and unless you have experience in the area, it’s best to call someone in.
However, if you feel comfortable, you’ll want to go ahead and open up the machine. A burning smell has a lot of originators. Check your air filter to ensure it’s clean, look at the wiring and ensure everything is intact. You’ll also want to pay attention to the fan motors and compressor to see if anything looks like it’s begun to melt.
If you don’t see any obvious wiring issues, try giving your air conditioner a good cleaning and then restart it. Let it blow for a few minutes. Initially, the smell will probably still be there, but if you’ve fixed the problem, then it should disappear within a few minutes. If not, time to call in the professionals.
The Rotten Egg or Sulfur Smell
Thus far, we’ve been focused on window AC units. Sulfur smell isn’t super common in these types of air conditioners unless you’ve run into an issue with a dead animal getting inside the unit.
Most commonly, if you’re smelling sulfur, it’s due to a natural gas leak in your home that’s presenting itself through the ventilation system. This is one of the most dangerous issues you can face, and it’s important to take prompt action.
How To Fix It?
If the smell is powerful, it’s best to take immediate action. Contact the fire department and let them know about the odor. If you know how to turn off the gas supply, do that as well and then leave your home until the problem can be examined.
If the smell is there but not heavy, then you can open up your windows and contact the fire department. If they don’t find anything, then most likely it’s coming from a dead animal that’s crawled into your ventilation ducts.
If this is the case, you’ll want to contact pest control and have them thoroughly search the vents and your home.
3. Additional Odors
The odors we discussed today are some of the most common you would experience with your AC units. However, there’s a whole host of other scents that you may encounter, including sewage and car exhaust. These are less common to experience.
Sometimes the odor has nothing to do with your air conditioner or ventilation system, and your house just smells bad. If this is the case, check out our other article on ways to keep your apartment smelling fresh.
Since air conditioners are putting out air, they often come with all kinds of interesting odors. Sometimes these smells are entirely harmless and just need some time to dissipate, such as when you purchase a brand new AC unit. Other times, you’ll want to pay more attention and take immediate action.
In any case, there’s always a solution to be found.