What Causes a Central AC to Smell?
Is your central air conditioner emitting a musty or sour odor? Here are a few possible causes and solutions to help track down the source and keep your home smelling fresh.
During the hot, humid days of summer your central air conditioner is working overtime to remove the humidity from the air to cool your home. The air conditioner uses a fan to blow warm air over coils that contain refrigerant; as the air is cooled, the result is condensation. As condensation forms on the coil it drips into a condensate pan so it can flow down the drain. This damp environment can be an ideal place for mold and mildew to grow – causing unhealthy air and unpleasant smells.
Change the Air Filter
A dirty air filter can limit the amount of air that cycles through the home, increasing humidity and dampness in the ventilation system, creating an ideal environment for mold to grow. Replace your air filter at least once a month, or at the interval recommended by the filter manufacturer.
Clean the Condensate Pan
The condensate pan is located inside the air handler right under the refrigerant coils. When dirt and debris collect in the pan the drain hole can become clogged, causing mold and mildew to grow.
If the drain is clogged, use a piece of wire or a paper clip to clean out the drain opening. If there are signs of mold or mildew, wipe the pan clean with a sponge and diluted chlorine bleach.