What to do when you notice your air conditioner smells like gas and other nasty smells

Ah, summer — the time of year when you can crank up the air conditioner, bask in its cool embrace and feel all carefree and stuff. But if your air conditioner smells like gas, it’s not something you should ignore.

What to do when you notice your air conditioner smells like gas and other nasty smells

We’ll cover what to check for if you ever start to smell gas from your air conditioner. Plus, we’ll provide some tips on how to avoid the problem in the future and what other smells could mean.

Let’s look into it together so you can get back to feeling cool!

Safety tips for when an air conditioner smells like gas

If you’ve noticed a gas-like odor coming from your air conditioner, don’t worry—you’re not alone!

What to do when you notice your air conditioner smells like gas and other nasty smells

Turn off your AC

First and foremost, turn off the gas supply immediately and the air conditioner. This will stop the smell from getting any worse.

Open your windows and doors

Open all of your windows and doors to ensure the gas can escape.

Prolonged exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can cause dizziness, nausea, and even death. Leave the house and call 911 or your gas company to report a leak.

Call an HVAC contractor

Contact an HVAC contractor as soon as possible.

An experienced HVAC contractor will be able to identify what is causing the smell and repair it quickly so that you can resume using your air conditioner safely.

For a more pungent odor, switch off the air conditioner, evacuate your home, and call the fire department from outside.

Quickly resolving if the air conditioner smell like gas

When you notice your air conditioner smells like gas, the first thing to do is to check for any visible signs of a gas leak.

What to do when you notice your air conditioner smells like gas and other nasty smells

Look for any loose or damaged pipes, fittings, hoses, and any apparent damage to the unit itself.

If there aren’t any visible signs of a gas leak, it’s best to call a professional technician and have them inspect the unit thoroughly.

A professional can use a combustible gas detector to identify the source of the unpleasant smell and help you find an appropriate solution.

In some cases, the gas odor could simply be caused by stale air that’s accumulated inside your unit; this is not something that requires urgent attention unless it’s accompanied by other symptoms like poor operation or frequent cycling on and off.

The following practices can help address if your AC smells like gas:

  • Make sure that your air conditioning unit is properly installed and maintained.
  • Inspect all components regularly, such as fans, compressors, evaporator coils, and condensers, to ensure they are in good condition and working properly.

Difference between a natural gas leak and an electrical smell?

If you’re not sure if the smell your air conditioner is emitting is natural gas or electrical, there are a few things you can do to try and figure it out.

What to do when you notice your air conditioner smells like gas and other nasty smells


Take a look at the color of the smoke. Natural gas tends to have a blueish hue while electrical smells tend to be more brown or black.

What to do when you notice your air conditioner smells like gas and other nasty smells

This doesn’t always work, though, as both types of smoke have many different colors.


Identifying where in your home the smell is coming from can also be useful in determining what type of smoke you may be dealing with.

Electrical smells usually come from within the air conditioner itself while natural gas will usually come from outside your house’s heating system.

So if you ever get a whiff of something suspicious coming from your AC unit, now you know some steps that can help tell whether it’s natural gas or electrical smoke.

But it’s always safe than sorry, so remember to turn off the gas supply if you can do so safely and have everyone leave the house.

What are other causes for an air conditioner to smell?

If a gas smell coming from your air conditioner can be alarming, so the first thing to do is figure out the source of the issue.

The most common cause of air conditioners smelling like gas is that there’s probably a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant is a colorless and odorless gas, so it currently doesn’t have any scent.

But refrigerant leaks can mix with oil and other components and create a chemical reaction that produces an odor like ammonia or rotten eggs.

What to do when you notice your air conditioner smells like gas and other nasty smells

This could mean that you’re running out of refrigerant in your system, or that something is wrong with the system itself.

In either case, you should reach out to a professional as soon as possible to have it inspected or repaired.

So if you notice the scent of gas coming out of your air conditioning system and aren’t sure what to do, take this as your sign that you should call for help as soon as you can.

The air conditioner smells like cigarette smoke

The next thing that most people have is the smell of cigarettes from an air conditioner. Smokers can have the same reaction.]

What to do when you notice your air conditioner smells like gas and other nasty smells

Air conditioners absorb tobacco dust by filtering the air in the home for consumption in case the smoke has passed through.

The air conditioning pulls these smoke particles into their filters each night when they smoke out the window.

That’s okay until then since the particles will usually stick to the air conditioner filter.

Rotten egg smell coming from air conditioner

If your air conditioner smells like a rotten egg, it’ll probably mean an animal is decomposing its body. You can contact pest control to remove dead animals.

What to do when you notice your air conditioner smells like gas and other nasty smells

Once your conditioner smells like rotten eggs, check out the dead animal inside the circulating fan. Use masks to eliminate the rotten egg smell and gloves to remove the animal from the system.

The air conditioner smells like mold

It is common to see air conditioners smell like mold. A moldy smell can typically come from the water the water doesn’t drain properly on the drip line, pipe, or condensate line. it’s probably best to get in touch with an HVAC technician to get your central air conditioner inspected.

What to do when you notice your air conditioner smells like gas and other nasty smells

In addition to temperature and moisture the air creates an atmosphere that can allow for the growth of fungi, mildew, mold, and mildew.

It is probably hardly surprising that the microbes in your HVAC system smell like mold.

Aside from accumulated water, there are instances when a musty smell is attributed to damaged air filters.


Why do I smell gas when I turn on my AC?

The scent is usually indicative of a gas leak in the fuel system. When a fan or heater is turned off, smoke can be absorbed and blown out of the device. Inhalation of gas fumes may also cause health risks.

Does AC refrigerant smell like gas?

Is there a difference between smell? It has a distinctive taste of sweetness that most people say smells of chlorine. Generally speaking, freon gas has a very pleasant odor so there are very good chances of freon leaks, which can be caused by exhaust fumes.

The oil then circulates with the refrigerant, which can potentially produce a gas odor. If you smell something strange near the AC unit, you should take a closer look at the leaking air.

What does a freon leak smell like?

Freon typically travels through copper coils on an AC system however these copper wires can crack and cause the evaporation of coolants. A freon leak can create an aroma that varies in sweet and chlorine forms.

How do you know if AC gas is leaking?

If you suspect your air conditioning unit may be leaking gas, there are several signs to look out for. The most common symptom of a gas leak is a strange odor coming from the unit. You may also notice a decrease in cooling power, or hear hissing or bubbling sounds coming from the unit.

If the refrigerant lines are wet or frosty, this can be an indication of a gas leak.

Why is there a burning smell coming from my air conditioner?

A burning smell coming from your air conditioner could be caused by a few different things. It could be due to a dirty filter, an overheating motor, or a wiring issue.

We recommend that you turn off your unit and call a professional to come to take a look. In the meantime, open windows and doors to ventilate the area.

To learn more about how to make your air conditioner last longer, check out this post here.


If you’ve noticed your air conditioner smells like gas, take it seriously and don’t hesitate to call a professional.

A gas leak can be dangerous and cause a range of health issues, so it’s best to get the issue sorted out as soon as possible.

If you notice the smell again after having it checked out by a professional, it’s also a good idea to get it checked again.

If a leak isn’t the culprit, it’s a good idea to have a professional come out and look at the air filter, duct, and evaporator coil. Doing so can help determine whether any of those components are the cause of the bad smell.

Overall, don’t ignore a bad smell coming from your air conditioner. Get it checked out by a professional and ensure that your home is a safe, healthy place to be.

If you need to read about Goodman vs Rheem: choosing the right HVAC brand for youplease read our article.

Robert Brooks

I have an engineering background. I have my own house, where I live with my wife and children. I want to say that the most important thing when equipping a house is to choose the right heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

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