Why Does My AC Smell Like Mildew?

Air conditioning should be refreshing and comforting. Nothing ruins the enjoyment of cool air quite like a mold or mildew smell coming with it. If your AC smells like mildew, body odor, decay, or other foul odors, it’s time to troubleshoot the problem and call a professional for effective cleaning and repairs.

Common Causes For Mildew Smell From Your AC

Mold and mildew smells can start at virtually any point in the flow of air conditioning. When working properly, AC units can overcome the presence of moisture, condensation, and exposure to the elements. Here are the most common reasons that a mildew smell begins to form:

  • Filter: If the filter is dirty and clogged or gets exposed to too much moisture, mildew can begin to grow. A lot of tiny organic particles get trapped in the filter, and moisture accelerates the mold growth. Remove the filter, clean around it, and replace it — up to once per month as necessary.
  • Drip pan: Check to see if the drip pan under the AC unit has been knocked askew or is filling up too quickly. The drain may also be blocked up with dirt or leaves. You can likely correct small problems with the drip pan yourself, but if it seems difficult or the problem repeats — call a pro.
  • Condensate drain line: This line runs from the coils to the outside of the unit, and it removes the condensation created by the coils. The drain line can be flushed on the inside and cleaned on the outside, and the connections should be checked for other issues.
  • Ductwork: Mildew can also form in the ducts and vents. An HVAC professional can thoroughly clean and seal the ductwork and locate the source of moisture.
  • Internal problems: The interior parts of the AC may be dirty and mildewy, possibly in addition to one of the above problems. If the unit appears dirty or other measures do not fix the smell, an HVAC technician can provide a deep clean of the AC unit.
When to Call a Professional

If the mildew smell remains after you replace the filter and check the drain pan, call a professional. Depending on the location and extent of the mildew, cleaning an air conditioner can be quite difficult as a DIY project.

Mold tends to grow and spread quickly, so even if the problem began with the air filter or drain pan, your AC may continue to produce a mildew smell because of moisture and filth collected in the coils and/or ductwork.

Professional cleaning helps get rid of the smell faster and keeps the smell away longer. Simply cleaning, however, does not fix the root cause. If this is an ongoing issue, you have a problem with your air conditioning system that is causing this issue. Your technician can survey the situation to determine if an underlying problem needs to be fixed so the smell doesn’t keep coming back.

Schedule AC Repair Service in Orange County Today

For help with a mildew smell from the air conditioner in Southern California, call the experts at Dynamic Air Services to clean and fix the problem. We’ll have you smelling clean, healthy air as fast as possible.

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