If your home is cooled by a central air conditioning unit, you are probably used to certain smells that come from it, such as the normal musty odor that happens when you first turn it on after an extended dormant period. However, there are a couple of odors that are not normal. These odors you should never ignore and hope they go away on their own, as they indicate a serious problem with your air conditioning system.
1. Overwhelming Chemical Odor Resembling Paint Thinner
While sitting at home, you may suddenly detect an odor that strongly resembles paint thinner. Especially if you have not been painting in recent days and have not had to use paint thinner, the first place you need to look for this smell is your air conditioner, as this odor could represent a problem that could lead to serious health risks.
If you are smelling paint thinner or any other odd chemical odor, there is a good chance that it is caused by a refrigerant leak. You may have a busted line inside your AC unit, or the compressor may be leaking.
No matter where the leak is coming from, the gas from the refrigerant poses a real threat to the health and safety of you and your family. As soon as you detect this odor, turn off your air conditioning unit and contact an HVAC repair service right away.
2. Strong Smell Resembling Burning Rubber or Gunpowder
Another odor that you should never ignore that could put your household at risk is a strong smell that resembles either burning rubber or gunpowder. Either of these smells indicates that there is a problem with the unit's electrical system that could cause a fire if not repaired immediately.
If you detect the smell of burning rubber, the insulation around the wires inside of the AC unit may be melting because of an electrical surge or bare wires touching one another. This situation could cause electrical arcs that could spark a fire.
If you smell something that resembles gunpowder, this odor could be caused by a fried circuit board or an electrical issue with the motor. This problem, too, could pose a fire hazard. At the very least, the unit may break down completely if not tended to by a professional.
If you detect either of the above odors, there is most likely a serious issue with your central AC unit that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. Contact an air conditioner repair service like ABCO Mechanical Corp. to have someone inspect your unit and take the necessary actions to fix any problems they find.