Reasons My Air Conditioner Smells Musty

When you turn on your air conditioner and notice a musty smell coming from your vents, you need to take action. That smell can be linked to mildew or mold, which are a health risk. Pinpointing the cause is important as you work to protect your family from this serious risk. Here are some common sources of this musty AC smell and some tips for dealing with it in your Arizona home.

Mold or Mildew in Condenser

Mold and mildew love damp, dark, and warm environments, and several components of your air conditioner make the ideal environment. For instance, the moisture and warmth of the air conditioner's condenser coil can lead to mold and mildew. If mold is the cause of your musty smell, you need to address it quickly. Mold or mildew that is left to sit in your air conditioner releases spores into your ductwork. Those spores are circulated into your home every time the unit runs, and this could make you or your family members sick.

Duct Leaks

The condenser is not the only place where mildew can grow. Leaks in the ductwork can provide a catalyst for mold and mildew growth by allowing mold spores, moisture, and debris into the system. Checking your system for duct leaks can help determine if this is a source of your smell.

Moisture in the Drip Pan

Air conditioners create condensation, and that condensation collects in a drip pan. If you do not remove the water from the drip pan, it can get musty and stagnant. You can clean the drip pan if it is not completely housed inside the unit. To do this, unscrew the condensate drain from the coupling at the pain, and clean out both the drain and the pain. You can use bleach or white vinegar to kill any mold or mildew that you can't see. If this is the source of the problem, the smell should go away within a couple of days.

Old Air Filter

When was the last time you changed the air filter in your HVAC system? This can be the source of the musty smell, depending on what is caught up in the filter. To change it, take a look at the type of filter you have, and buy one that is a similar size and style. Then, swap the old one for the new one. Again, this should fix the problem within a few days if it is the cause.

Get a Professional's Help

If these troubleshooting measures do not work, or if you suspect mold and mildew deep in your ductwork, you need to get professional HVAC help. Musty odors are more than just a nuisance. They can also be a health risk. For this reason, you need to get an expert's opinion. Shamrock Heating & Cooling can help! Located in Tempe, Arizona, we have the knowledge and the experience to fix any AC problem you may have—including a smelly one! Give us a call or contact us online to schedule service!

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