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airheatman, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 8389
Experience:  Furnace, A/C and heat pump specialist.
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The central air in the apartment I'm renting leaves a

Customer Question

The central air in the apartment I'm renting leaves a chemical taste in my mouth that makes me dizzy. Can you advice what's happening?
JA: Did you double-check the thermostat's settings? And what about the filters?
Customer: Filters are new. Settings seem normal It's distinctly chemical
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: No. I can't do work bc apartment building. Just don't know what the smell/taste indicates
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: Just what I told you. Just moved in. Trying to figure out what causes that taste. One other thing I had the same reaction once to a brand new AC window unit. A strong chemical taste.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  airheatman replied 1 year ago.

The ac unit really should not emit any taste or odor. Refrigerant is odorless and tasteless.There may be a source in the apartment that is being circulated by the blower in the unit.

Expert:  airheatman replied 1 year ago.

Are there any chemicals such as cleaning agents stored near the return grille?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Actually no I smelled chemical smells coming from a window unit once that was exactly like this. It came straight out of the unit.
Expert:  airheatman replied 1 year ago.

It is possible that cooling coil may need to be cleaned.Can you see the coil from underneath to determine id there is any mold or mildew?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not smelling mold or mildew- here (which is central AC) or with the unit I purchased. I'm smelling/tasting chemicals. I know very well what mold and mildew smell like!
Expert:  airheatman replied 1 year ago.

If you can get to the coil, I would start by getting a can of foam coil cleaner and spraying the fins on coil.As water condenses it will wash anything on surface of coil down the drain.Unless there is something on coil unit should not be producing any odor.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Let me be more honest and clear. I am a sensitive person, easily sick. Most AC doesn't bother me. I recently tried both a new portable and a new window unit. BOTH had this smell. They were BRAND NEW. So nothing to clean. Now I'm in an apartment with central air confronting the same smell. I don't know what causes it but it's overpowering.
Expert:  airheatman replied 1 year ago.

I see. If unit is brand new you could be smelling the chemicals that are produced by plastics and materials made in manufacturing.Most people would probably not notice them. Perhaps after a few days the smell will go way/Meantime you might try using an air freshener return air to mask the odor.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Is there any reason I would be smelling the same exact thing in an apartment with central air??
Expert:  airheatman replied 1 year ago.

It could be they type of filter or could be coming from the plastic liner in ducts if they are flexible ducts.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Isn't heated plastic toxic? Thanks!
Expert:  airheatman replied 1 year ago.

No there is nothing that gets hot enough to be toxic in the unit. Burning plastic would be, but there should be nothing burning in unit.