What Makes Your Home Air Conditioner Smell Bad
When you turn on your air conditioner, do you sometimes notice a musty or moldy smell? If air fresheners do not eliminate the odor, or if your air conditioner smells bad no matter what you do, then it may be time for a professional HVAC contractor to diagnose the problem.
Why Your Air Conditioner Smells Bad
The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that indoor air can be as polluted as outdoor air, and one reason is the lack of sufficient air exchange. Insulation with a high R-value rating lowers utility costs; however, without ventilation, indoor air may become stale and stagnant and your air conditioning system could be the source of an unpleasant odor.
Clogged Condensation Pan or Pipe
The outside condenser unit houses the compressor and the condenser coil. Warm liquid travels from the condenser to the indoor evaporator coil where it is vaporized and converts to cooled air which then circulates throughout your home. Additionally, the condensate pipe removes moisture (caused by a heat to cold transfer) from the pan in or under evaporator coil and then drains into the sewer. If the pipe or drain clogs, mold, algae, and bacteria may soon form. Make sure you keep any debris from falling into the pan, as to not clog the drain.
Does Your Air Conditioner Smell Like Dirty Socks?
Bacteria, mold, and slime may accumulate and grow on the indoor evaporator coils of your air conditioning system. Customers describe dirty sock syndrome odors as musky and like the inside of a locker room. Typically, bacteria forms on the evaporator coil during the heating season of heat pumps. Air conditioning creates wet and damp evaporator coils, and when coupled with the bacterial growth from improperly draining, it can be the source of foul odors.
Air Conditioning Duct-work
The duct-work is an important part of your air conditioning system. Besides distributing air, there may be other things found in the ductwork such as allergens, bugs and insects, dead animals, dirt, moisture, and pollen. These could have accumulated when the AC unit was off for a period of time.
Pinpointing the Smell
If you’ve determined the smell is coming from your air conditioning system then have the duct-work inspected by an HVAC technician. As a part of their maintenance, they may recommend cleaning, sealing, or repairing the ducts. Unsealed duct-work is responsible for escaping cooled air and outdoor contaminants entering through the cracks. Increased utility bills are a sure sign that your system is wasting energy and working harder than necessary.