How To Get Rid Of Bad Smell From Air Conditioner?

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: May 6, 2024

woman covering her nose from bad smell inside from ac
Woman Covering Her Nose From Bad Smell Inside From AC

You flip on the air conditioner, expecting a good flow of fresh, cool air. And then there’s the funky smell—it’s much more common than many people realize. Plus, with the bad smell from your air conditioner, moulds, dirt, or even some small animals may have gotten inside. It is important to fix these smells. Let’s not forget that they make our houses feel stuffy and can even increase our AC’s work and wear level. In this piece, we will find out why it occurs and how to eliminate the smells for your unit to run effectively and keep fresh air in the house.

1 Identifying the Source of the Smell

Mould and Mildew: Mold loves damp places, and your air conditioner can be perfect for it, especially if it’s not cleaned regularly. Mould in your AC can spread a musty smell throughout your home whenever you turn it on.

Stagnant Water: Sometimes water doesn’t drain properly from your AC and collects in the drain pans or ducts. This standing water can start to smell bad over time, and that smell can blow into your rooms.

Dust and Debris: If you don’t clean your air conditioner, dust and small bits of debris can build up. When you turn on your AC, these can cause a dusty or musty smell if they’ve been sitting there for a while.

Smoke and Other Environmental Odors: Your air conditioner can pull in outside smells, like smoke from outdoor fires or exhaust from traffic. These odours can stick to the inside of the unit and linger, making your indoor air smell not so pleasant.

2 Routine Cleaning and Maintenance

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Air conditioning technician is cleaning air conditioner.

Filter Maintenance: This is one of the basic steps for the smooth and improved performance of your air conditioner. You should change or clean it every couple of months, depending upon its use. This will not only block out the bad odours but also allow your AC to run power-efficiently. Always clean and replace the filter after washing and drying if you have a reusable one.

Cleaning the Drain Pan and Line: If the pan and line have been improperly draining, there will be water sitting in the pan and line, which can become a source of bad smell. The first step is to turn off your AC. Remove any water from the pan and then use a mixture of water and vinegar to scrub and flush the line. This helps prevent bad smells and mould growth.

Coils Cleaning: Coils in your AC unit can pick up dirt and dust, which may cause smells. Clean the coil—seriously, every season—and your AC should run smoother and smell fresh. First, turn off the power and gently clean with a soft brush and coil cleaner.

Duct Cleaning: After some time, there will be accumulated dirt and debris in the ducts of your air conditioner. You’d know when it’s time to call in a professional cleaner for your ducts if you increasingly find more dust or the emergence of an unpleasant smell every time he/she has the AC running. One should do this more religiously if he or others staying in his house have allergies or asthma.

3 DIY Solutions for Immediate Relief

Homemade Solutions: All the solutions that you require to clean your AC can be made right in your own house. Add water to vinegar in equal measures or add some drops of lemon juice if you need the refreshing smell. You can use this cleaning solution to clean the areas that are easily accessed, such as the exterior and the filter if it’s washable.

Use of vinegar for cleaning: Vinegar is used to kill mould and bad odours. If there is any necessity of applying vinegar to your AC, one has to prepare a solution in which one part of water gets mixed with one part of vinegar, then clean the coils of the evaporators and insides of the unit. This will help in killing mould and getting rid of the odour.

Activated charcoal: Activated charcoal absorbs odours from the air, perfect for freshening your air conditioner. Just place a bag with some near the air intake of your unit and poof. This will trap odors and at the same time freshen the air that your AC emits.

Baking soda: Baking soda is another good absorbent for odours. Place some in the drip pan and prepare a paste, which should be applied under the filter or at any other accessible area. This will help take away all the persistent smells, leaving the AC fresh.

4 Professional Solutions

technician man repairing cleaning and maintenance air conditioner on the wall in bedroom or office room
Technician man repairing ,cleaning and maintenance Air conditioner on the wall in bedroom or office room

When to Call a Professional: But sometimes, a DIY clean just doesn’t cut it. If you have gone ahead and cleaned it but still find that the air conditioner is smelly or begins to make funky noises, it might be time to call in a professional. Besides, professionals can also diagnose and offer repair solutions, for example, if it is noted that the air conditioning is not offering temperatures as cool as it should be.

Services Offered by the Professionals: Professionals offer more than basic cleaning. This is through a service called deep cleaning offered by the professionals, whereby they take cleaning to the extent of parts of your AC that are always very difficult to reach. They could replace the worn-out or damaged parts, which might be the cause of bad odours or efficiencies.

Choosing the right service provider: Most importantly, choose a competent technician with good reviews from past customers and proper certifications. Ideally, this is also where you want to choose a technician, meaning one who offers a guarantee on their work, so you can rest easy knowing your product will get the maintenance it needs to be enjoyed for many years to come.

5 Preventative Measures

Regular Schedule of Maintenance: The most efficient way to prevent the emergence of odours is, of course, providing a regular maintenance schedule. It is hereby advised for the owner to set checks and cleaning at least twice a year: before the onset of a hot season and right after its passage. This helps us catch the problem at an early stage, hence saving us from drowning.

Humidity Control: High humidity can let moisture build up in your AC. This may result in growth conducive to mould and mildew. All these problems of odour can be averted by just running a dehumidifier in your home or by using a setting that removes humidity.

Proper installation and use: One of the numerous issues that can be prevented through proper installation is odours. Make sure the AC is level so that the drainage works as it should. Besides, do not use it in places with a lot of dust or dirt, unless it is required, for the system may become blocked and produce smells.

6 Wrapping Up

Getting rid of these odours in your air conditioner goes beyond a comfort issue. It is very necessary to have a healthy living environment and enable the unit to work effectively. Through this guide, we discussed how to get rid of, prevent, and even solve these odours. Now it’s important to maintain your air conditioner to keep it smelling fresh and in good working condition. If you enjoyed this post and would like more insights, check out our guide on how to check gas leak in AC for helpful tips and information.

Remember, the key to a fresh-smelling and efficient AC isn’t really in fixing issues as they come up but preventing them before they can start. In other words, be proactive with these simple, yet very effective, maintenance and cleaning practices. Your nose—and your air conditioner—will thank you!

FAQ's about How To Get Rid Of Bad Smell From Air Conditioner

How do I get my AC to stop smelling?

To stop your air conditioner from smelling, begin by cleaning or replacing the air filter, which should be done monthly. Also, clean the evaporator coils with a mild detergent to remove any build up of dust and mold. Ensure that the drain pan and lines are clear of debris to prevent mold and mildew growth. Applying a mold inhibitor can also help prevent future smells by stopping mold before it starts. Lastly, it’s beneficial to have your AC unit professionally serviced annually to maintain optimal performance and cleanliness. These actions will help eliminate any unpleasant odors emanating from your air conditioner.

Your air conditioner might smell bad due to several reasons including mold and mildew build up, clogged drainage lines, dirty filters, or stagnant water in the system. Mold and mildew often grow in moist environments like AC units, especially if they are not regularly maintained. Dirty filters can also trap odors and circulate them throughout your space. Ensuring regular cleaning and maintenance of your air conditioner components can help prevent these issues and keep your unit smelling fresh.

To get rid of the smell in your room with an air conditioner, start by cleaning or replacing the air filter, as a dirty filter can harbour odors and pollutants. Clean the evaporator coils and drain pan to remove any mold or mildew, which are common sources of bad smells. Ensure the drainage lines are clear to prevent water build up. Additionally, consider using a mold inhibitor in the AC system to prevent future microbial growth. Running the AC on fan mode after cleaning can also help air out any residual smells. Regular maintenance of your AC unit is crucial to prevent odors and keep the air in your room fresh.

When you first turn on your air conditioner and notice a bad smell, it’s often due to stagnant water, mold, or mildew that has accumulated in the unit. During periods of inactivity, moisture can collect in the AC’s filters, coils, or drain pan, creating an ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow. Additionally, accumulated dust and debris can start to emit a musty or burning odour when the unit is activated after being off for some time. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the AC system, including changing the filters and cleaning the coils and drain pan, can help prevent these odors.

To improve the scent of your air conditioner and ensure it emits a pleasant aroma, you can:

  • Use Essential Oils: Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the air filter. This way, when the air flows through, it will disperse the scent throughout the room.
  • Commercial Air Fresheners: There are commercial air freshener products designed specifically for use with HVAC systems. These can be attached directly to the air filter or near the vent.
  • Baking Soda: Sprinkle some baking soda on the air filter. It helps neutralize odors naturally and can leave the air smelling fresher.
  • Homemade Air Freshener: Create a solution of water and your preferred essential oils or lemon juice and lightly dampen the air filter with it.

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About This Article

Kaushik Jethva
Written by: Kaushik Jethva author

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Updated: May 6, 2024
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