Common Causes of Air Conditioning Odors

The air coming from your air conditioner isn’t supposed to have a smell, so if it smells moldy or musty you probably need the help of a trusted HVAC technician. Here residential HVAC contractors at Sierra Air share a look at the common causes of air conditioner odors and how to get rid of them.

Causes of Air Conditioning Odors

Air conditioning odors can be caused by one or more of the following:

  • Excess Moisture in the Ducts or Vents — High humidity levels can result in excess moisture collecting in the air ducts and vents. The combination of darkness and moisture allows mold to grow unnoticed. If you can smell it, chances are it’s starting to spread in the ductwork.
  • Frozen Evaporator Coils — Evaporator coils can freeze due to clogged air filters. The lack of airflow causes water to collect on the evaporator coils, where it can then freeze.
  • Full Drain Pan — Excess humidity from your indoor space is collected in a drain pan, also known as a drip pan. Stagnant water can accumulate mold and bacteria over time, resulting in a foul odor.
  • Clogged Condensate Line — Similar to what happens with a full drain pan, water that’s stuck in clogged condensate lines can contain mold and bacteria.
  • Oversized HVAC System — HVAC technicians need to calculate the size of your living area in order to determine the right heating and air conditioning system for your home. Choose one that’s too small, and it will be performing at full capacity all the time. An air conditioner that’s too big, on the other hand, will turn off too soon, resulting in improperly-dehumidified air that can encourage mold and bacterial growth.

How to Get Rid of and Prevent Air Conditioning Odors

Get rid of odors coming from the ductwork with a professionally-conducted air duct cleaning. In addition to getting rid of dust, mold and other pollutants that may cause odors, the air ducts will be resealed at the joints. Disinfectant will also be applied to minimize mold and bacterial growth. Having your ducts cleaned every three to five years can help keep it clean and sealed off from indoor air pollutants.

Regular inspections, including cleaning the drain pans and checking the condensate lines, can help prevent bacteria buildup. Air filters should be replaced once every three months, or as often as once a month during periods of heavy use. Lastly, if you find issues that require repairs, avoid doing them yourself. Instead, contact an HVAC professional. 

Call Sierra Air for Your Heating and Cooling Needs

Sierra Air is your leading provider of residential air conditioning installation and repair services. Give us a call at (775) 800-5500 or (775) 625-1654. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve customers in Nevada and nearby areas.

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