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Why is My Central Air Conditioner Making Strange Smells?

Is your central air conditioner emitting a musty or sour smell? There are a few things you can check. In addition to lowering the temperature in your home your air conditioner also dehumidifies the air by blowing warm air over coils that contain refrigerant. This both reduces the temperature of the air and extracts the moisture from the air through condensation. The moisture drips off the coil and collects in a condensate pan where it can flow down the drain.

Condensate Pan

The condensate pan is located inside the air handler right under the refrigerant coils. When dirt and debris collect in the pan it can clog the drain hole, causing mold and mildew to grow – resulting in a musty smell.

If the drain is clogged you can us 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.

Air Ducts

If humidity levels reach high enough levels it can cause the dirt inside air ducts to turn to mold. Mold in the air ducts can be a serious health hazard. If you notice mold inside air ducts, or experience musty smells coming from the air registers, your ventilation system could be harboring mold. You should contact a mold specialist to have the duct work inspected.

Dirty Air Filter

A dirty air filter can limit the amount of air that can cycle through the system, creating an increase in 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.

If you suspect your central air conditioner is causing strange smells in your home, call ABC Southwest Plumbing & Air Conditioning, we can inspect the system and ensure that it is operating safely and reliably.

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