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4 Reasons Why Your Air Conditioner Might Smell Musty

You’re at home relaxing or going about your business and your nose picks up a musty smell. You walk throughout the home looking for a culprit: mildew in the washing machine, a clogged toilet, or a damp towel left on the floor perhaps, but you find nothing. You start to notice that you’re only smelling the musty scent while your air conditioner is running, and you start to connect the dots.

A musty smell from your air conditioner is an unpleasant problem and it could be impacting your family’s health, too. But where is the smell coming from and what can you do to fix it? Our experts are weighing in on the top causes of a musty air conditioner and what your next steps should be.

1.  Your Drain Pan is Full or Blocked

When your air conditioner pulls condensed water from the air, it drips this water into a drain pan. The water is then supposed to drain from that pan promptly. If that thin drain line is clogged or if there is another issue with your drain pan, though, it could fill up with stagnant water. That stagnant water becomes a prime breeding ground for mold, sending a musty smell through your air conditioner.

2.  Your Air Conditioner Has Dirt and Dust Build-Up

Like anything else in your home, the internal parts of your air conditioner can develop dust build-up over time. When certain parts like the evaporator coil develop dust, though, it can lead to mold growth. If you haven’t had your air conditioner cleaned in some time, this could be the reason you’re picking up a musty scent.

3.  Your Ductwork Has Mold or Mildew

The air conditioning ductwork in your home is dark and relatively warm. When it gets damp too, it becomes an ideal place for mold and mildew. Any time water or condensation builds up within your ductwork and you aren’t having the ducts regularly cleaned, it’s a recipe for mustiness.

4.  Your Filter is Too Old

Air conditioners have filters designed to block pollutants and other unwanted particles from the air that’s coming through your air conditioner. Over time, those particles build up inside the filter. This can cause a variety of problems, including a musty smell. The overly full filter can limit airflow and trap moisture, leading to mold and mildew.

What to Do if Your Air Conditioner Smells Musty

The reasons above are only a few of the most common culprits behind a musty-smelling air conditioner. As common as a musty smell is, it could point to a variety of problems within your air conditioning system or your ductwork, so it’s important to bring in a professional.

An HVAC maintenance technician will be able to inspect your air conditioner and ductwork to find the mold or standing water and identify the best way to fix it. It’s often not only a matter of cleaning up standing water but finding out why the water built up in the first place.

If mold or mildew in your ductwork is entirely or partially to blame for your air conditioner’s musty smell, we can help. Our team can conduct a comprehensive ductwork cleaning to remove mold and mildew, giving you safer, cleaner-smelling air. We recommend routine ductwork cleanings to prevent mold growth in the future, especially if anyone in your family has respiratory issues, making them sensitive to mold spores.

To learn more, contact our HVAC specialists today and take the simple steps toward a fresher, cleaner air conditioning system.

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