Mildewy Air Conditioner? How To Make Your HVAC System Stop Smelling Like A Swamp

You might be vigilant about mopping the floor and dusting, but unfortunately, most people take their air conditioning unit and duct work completely for granted. Your air conditioner, filters, and vents put up with being ignored most of the time, but after a while, even they get sick of it. They will tell you so, not with words, but with smell. Moldy, mildewy, swampy odors are your air conditioner's way of telling you that their patience has run out. You might be tempted to solve the smell with some air fresheners, but these will just treat the symptom instead of the cause. How can you really make your HVAC system love you again? 

If Your House Is Clean, Why Is There Mildew To Begin With?

Like most things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Proper maintenance prevents problems like clogged filters, dirty air ducts, worn out compressors, and other troubles. When these are not seen to, your air conditioning unit has to work harder to cool your home; it ultimately becomes less efficient at moving air through your home. Also, the unit will have more trouble regulating the air quality, which will trap moisture in the ducts as entry and exit points become more clogged. Mold and mildew love moisture, and they naturally travel in the air, no matter how clean your home is. When the air doesn't move freely through the ducts, the mildew settles down and starts growing. This is the point where you will begin to notice the smell. 

So, What's The Pound Of Cure?

Once the smell is present, it's a sign that their are huge restitutions to be made, so you should not hesitate to get started.

First, you begin by doing what you should have done all along: you call an air conditioning service to give the ducts a thorough cleaning. This will remove the mildew and the build up dust and debris in the vents. They will also change your filters for you during the cleaning and show you where they are so that your relationship with your air conditioner is never this messy again.

Second, once the actual mildew has been removed, you can make the move to get the lingering smell out of your home. This is when you can break out the deodorizing sprays and air fresheners. Take all the vent covers off the ducts and clean them with bleach to make sure you kill any lingering mold spores. Spray deodorizer into the duct behind each vent. This will allow the air to push the spray to each room as the air begins to circulate again. 

Finally, make sure that each door to the house is open and that all of the vents are fully open as well. You might have the habit of closing some doors in order to cool less space to save money, but since your home is a closed system, closing doors will change the pressure and allow the air in those rooms to become stale-- which can promote mildew growth in those areas, as air isn't circulating like it should. Allow the system to run openly throughout the house often to keep the air moving. Moving air stays cleaner-- just like moving water. Things don't have a chance to grow if they are on the move constantly.

If you have been maintaining your air conditioner like you should and you still notice a mildewy smell, it's time to call a professional to have them look at your home to make sure there isn't a larger issue with mold somewhere else in the home. However, most of the time, if you give your HVAC system some attention, you won't have to deal with any strong-smelling complaints. 

For more information, contact a local air conditioning repair company.