A functioning air conditioner is one of those things that most people take for granted. After all, you already have a lot on your plate to keep you busy daily, including working out, driving the kids to school, going to work, and responding to the zillion emails and inquiries from co-workers. But if you get home and notice that it smells musty, you can only put off the problem for so long. What should you do to stop it, and why is it happening?
Air conditioners circulate the air in the space to create a cool, refreshing feeling. However, your air conditioner’s unpleasant or musty odor directly impacts your temperament.
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Reasons Your AC Smells Musty
Several things could bring on your air conditioner’s musty or moldy odor. The following are among the most likely culprits:
- Frozen Evaporator Coils
Air conditioners draw warm air from inside your house, dry it out, cool it, and then recirculate it through the return vents. It’s essential to have clean air filters in this process for air to flow freely. If you don’t replace them frequently enough, the dirt accumulated in them can obstruct airflow, allowing water drops from the humid air inside your home to pool on the evaporator coils. The refrigerant in the air conditioner will keep chilling the air, causing water dripping on the coils to freeze.
- Full Drain pan
When the air is dehumidified, the moisture in it causes water droplets to fall into an AC component called the drain pan. The drain pan may rust over time or stop draining the accumulated water due to normal wear and tear. This might lead to mold growth, which will smell bad inside your house.
- Clogged Condensate Line
The condensate line is an AC component that discharges water from the drain pan outside. You can see a PVC pipe adjacent to the condenser unit (the portion of the AC that sits outside your home). It’s easy for mold and mildew to grow in this pipe because it is a small, enclosed chamber designed to collect water. This leads to clogs and musty odors within your home.
- AC System Is Too Big for Your Home
Different types of air conditioners exist in the market. The air in your home may circulate too quickly if your air conditioning system is too large for your house. This causes your air conditioner to circulate inadequately dried air, which can lead to excess dampness in your home.
Ways to prevent the musty odor from the Air Conditioning
- Change the filter in the air conditioner.
While some air conditioner filters are disposable, you may clean and reuse the others. Before purchasing a replacement, you need to determine what kind of AC filter you currently have. To get the best air conditioner filter, ensure you adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Your air filter will be ineffective if inserted into a single-use air conditioner slot.
When the air filter is unclean, your air conditioner circulates debris via the vents. Anywhere the vents are open, musty scents are present.
- Keep the cooling coils clean.
Whether you have an indoor or outdoor air conditioner, you may need to clean the coils. If you have an indoor unit, you must shut off the electricity at the circuit breaker before removing the coil from the air conditioner. If your air conditioner has external units, you can spray the outside of it without worrying about removing any parts.
- Clean the air vents thoroughly
The smells might come from the vents, as you have already noticed. That’s because your air conditioner pulls particles through the filter, especially if it’s old and dusty. No filter is capable of completely removing the dirt that enters it. Dust and other impurities will be present inside each vent, and you must clean them out.
- Seal the Air Ducts
You may significantly minimize the odors in your home by sealing your air ducts. Particularly during the wet months, holes and leaks in the air ducts allow moisture to enter the vents. Follow the air ducts in your basement, attic, and anywhere else you have access to them.