My House Smells Musty… Is My Air Conditioner to Blame?

Has your house recently developed a musty smell? This can be a nasty problem, and the last place that many Bay Area homeowners would look to find the source would be their air conditioners. But the truth is that your air conditioner can develop a musty smell in certain circumstances, and the whole house will smell when it does! Today we’re going to talk about why your air conditioner would start to smell musty and what you can do to fix the problem!

Air conditioner smells can take over the whole house

Your central air conditioner cools down your home’s air and distributes it to every room in the house. So if the indoor part of your system begins to smell musty, that smell will get picked up in your home’s airflow and can stink up every room! But don’t worry, there are some ways you can both fix and prevent a musty smelling air conditioner.

Why might an air conditioner start to smell musty and how can you fix it?

Most of the time, musty smells come from the growth of mold and/or mildew around your home. When it comes to your air conditioner, this can happen in a few different places:

  • On your cooling coils. If your system’s cooling coils are not cleaned at least once per year, mold and mildew can potentially grow on them. Because your air conditioner blows air right over those coils, the musty smells from that growth can be picked up and distributed throughout your home.Solution: Have your cooling coils cleaned by Cabrillo.
  • In your drain pan. Your air conditioner has a drain pan that sits under your cooling coils to collect condensation that drips off of the coils. If the drain line gets clogged, that drain pan will fill with water. The cool, dark and damp environment surrounding your drain pan is perfect for mold and mildew growth, and the musty smell from that growth in your drain pan can carry up into your system’s airflow. Solution: Call Cabrillo to have your condensate drain line professionally unclogged.
  • On your filter. Another problem with a clogged condensate drain pan is that it makes the area around your system moister. This can make your air filter wet, which leaves it subject to mold and mildew growth and a musty smell that will carry throughout your home. Solution: Make sure your drain line is unclogged and change your air filter.

Prevent a musty smelling air conditioner with annual tune-ups

All of the issues that we mentioned above that can cause your air conditioner to smell musty can be prevented with annual tune-ups. During your tune-ups, we’ll clean your cooling coils, inspect your condensate drain line and check the condition of your air filter (among many other important tasks). This will significantly reduce the chances of your system developing a musty smell every cooling season.

If you have any questions about why your air conditioner smells musty, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your Bay Area plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor.