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Old 06-02-2013, 18:56   #1
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Air Conditioning Smell

Our main air unit gives out a smell when you first turn it on. I've checked the vent and there is no filter to clean out. Does anyone know what could be done and where the smell could be coming from?
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Old 06-02-2013, 20:29   #2
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If it smells like "Dirty socks", then more than likely you have some mold growing in the condensation pan. A spritz with a mild bleach and water solution should clear it up... Just don't get carried away with the bleach.
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Old 06-02-2013, 20:39   #3
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Re: air conditioning smell

Might have been a smoker maybe ? I hope not as thats hard to get rid of ! You can leave it running while ya use a Ozone generator to get rid of this smell ! also washing the drain pan and the whole unit will help !! wish I knew the smell, it would really help to know what it was in order to know what to use to make it better !! Connie says cut an apple in pieces and put next to the unit and some in the air handlers, she says this will work both when running and not running !! Shes sharp sometimes ! LOl I would try it if I had a smell ! LOL
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Old 06-02-2013, 21:51   #4
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Re: air conditioning smell

like solobob said a little bleach and water, then go to a home store. lowes home depot and get a can of spray foam coil cleaner. it will smell good and clean some of the stuff off of the coils.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:08   #5
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Re: air conditioning smell

I have been through this drill and I would be very circumspect with the use of bleach on your A/C heat exchanger. Moreover, I find it surprising that there is not a filter on your return air at or before the heat exchanger.

N'any case I suggest you start your cleaning by using a shop-vac to suction out the heat exchanger, being careful to avoid bending the vanes. Lowes/Home Depot sell attachment kits for shop vac's with a reducer cone that allows one to use very small tools (included in the kit) to suction out small spaces and tight areas (compute key-boards/vnets/fans and the like) that will aid in cleaning. Then spray the Heat Exchanger with a surfectant agent such a Greased Lightening or Roll Off to break down the remaining dirt and debris. After that has "soaked in" for awhile, use a spray bottle with clear water to "rinse" the heat exchanger, periodically suctioning the run-off out of the condensate pan with a tube connected to the cone reducer on your shop vac (which will also help clear the condensate pan). Once that's done, spray with an mildecide. Assuming you can get access to the fan assembly, one frequently finds that condensate water that pools at the bottom of the squirel cage has also allowed mold/mildew to grow and this needs be cleaned out in a manner similar to the above although it's awkward. Having done all of the foregoing, activate your fan (but not cooling) and spray some mildecide into the return air intake--to treat the squirel cage--and let that run for awhile to dry the machine out.

While the foregoing will treat the A/C unit itself, if you have a duct system to distribute the cooled/heated air, the ducts may also have mold growing in the dust that invariably coats the inside faces of the tubes. If one cannot get access to run wads of cleaning cloths (Swiffer Duster pads work well) through the tubes, the other alternative is to rent an Ozone Generator from some place like ServPro that does water damage restoration and set that up so that it discharges into your return air intake. With the A/C unit running (fan only if possible), you can circulate Ozone through the system for a few hours which will kill off most of the remaining mold/mildew in the system. Do not stay aboard the yacht during this process and thoroughly air the boat out before resuming normal use as Ozone has horrible effects on one's lungs.

Having done all of the foregoing, your system should be pretty well cleaned out and odor free. To avoid prblems in the future, you need to add a filter to the return air intake at the face of the heat exchanger. One of the most effective is an adaptation of a stove-top vent fan filter. At Lowes/Home Depot you can find these and the best are those comprised of two layers of fine metal mesh with a layer of fine screening impregnated with activated charcoal in the middle. These can be cut to size and the edges secured with a fold of duct-tape. If your heat exchanger is not fitted with clips to hold a filter in place, you can secure the screen with lengths of bamboo skewers from the supermarket clipped to length and slipped over the screening and under the edges of the heat exchanger. (On our boat I have also added a common household paper mesh filter on the outside face of the metal screen mesh but that's not entirely necessary.) Routne cleaning of the filter screens will be wise.

The foregoing has worked for us and could prove helpful for you as well.

FWIW...
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:21   #6
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Re: Air Conditioning Smell

try cleaning the ducts and everything. you have dirt and mold. good luck.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:34   #7
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Re: Air Conditioning Smell

It has to be cleaned of whatever growth is living in it. There is no other solution.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:38   #8
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Re: Air Conditioning Smell

Is there a possibility that the refrigerant/coolant is leaking; it has a distinguishable smell. Eventually, you'll notice the A/C area is not been cooled even though the A/C is ON. It is just another suggestion to look at. Mauritz
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:13   #9
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Re: Air Conditioning Smell

Further to my earlier comment, you might also want to add a condensate pan cleaner/deoderizer to your system e.g:



Condensate Pan Treatment
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:49   #10
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Re: Air Conditioning Smell

Thanks to all, I realize now that I will have to pull my fridge out because the unit is located in the wall beside it. What a job that will be as the dummies built the fridge into the wall. Having said that I do have a mesh filter on the intake side but that did not seem to prevent the problem from happening in the first place. Is there anything that will stop this from happening in the future so I don't have to pull my fridge out again?
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:05   #11
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Re: Air Conditioning Smell

Your mesh filter may need to be a smaller micron size and changed out more frequently. Stopping the smelly growth from having a food source (airborne dust) I think is most of the battle. Chemicals will kill the smell temporarily by killing the growth but will not remove their source of food. Cleanliness I think is the key.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:52   #12
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Re: air conditioning smell

Dear SvHyLyte,
Your comment is awesome and I am going to try all of your suggestions. However; I am unable to locate the "mildewcide" you talk about. The only "mildewcide" I can find is ONLINE and is an additive to paint??? If you are suggesting the "paint additive" did you mix it with water?
Please feel free to contact me by email at murf56@hotmail.com

Pat Murphy



Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
I have been through this drill and I would be very circumspect with the use of bleach on your A/C heat exchanger. Moreover, I find it surprising that there is not a filter on your return air at or before the heat exchanger.

N'any case I suggest you start your cleaning by using a shop-vac to suction out the heat exchanger, being careful to avoid bending the vanes. Lowes/Home Depot sell attachment kits for shop vac's with a reducer cone that allows one to use very small tools (included in the kit) to suction out small spaces and tight areas (compute key-boards/vnets/fans and the like) that will aid in cleaning. Then spray the Heat Exchanger with a surfectant agent such a Greased Lightening or Roll Off to break down the remaining dirt and debris. After that has "soaked in" for awhile, use a spray bottle with clear water to "rinse" the heat exchanger, periodically suctioning the run-off out of the condensate pan with a tube connected to the cone reducer on your shop vac (which will also help clear the condensate pan). Once that's done, spray with an mildecide. Assuming you can get access to the fan assembly, one frequently finds that condensate water that pools at the bottom of the squirel cage has also allowed mold/mildew to grow and this needs be cleaned out in a manner similar to the above although it's awkward. Having done all of the foregoing, activate your fan (but not cooling) and spray some mildecide into the return air intake--to treat the squirel cage--and let that run for awhile to dry the machine out.

While the foregoing will treat the A/C unit itself, if you have a duct system to distribute the cooled/heated air, the ducts may also have mold growing in the dust that invariably coats the inside faces of the tubes. If one cannot get access to run wads of cleaning cloths (Swiffer Duster pads work well) through the tubes, the other alternative is to rent an Ozone Generator from some place like ServPro that does water damage restoration and set that up so that it discharges into your return air intake. With the A/C unit running (fan only if possible), you can circulate Ozone through the system for a few hours which will kill off most of the remaining mold/mildew in the system. Do not stay aboard the yacht during this process and thoroughly air the boat out before resuming normal use as Ozone has horrible effects on one's lungs.

Having done all of the foregoing, your system should be pretty well cleaned out and odor free. To avoid prblems in the future, you need to add a filter to the return air intake at the face of the heat exchanger. One of the most effective is an adaptation of a stove-top vent fan filter. At Lowes/Home Depot you can find these and the best are those comprised of two layers of fine metal mesh with a layer of fine screening impregnated with activated charcoal in the middle. These can be cut to size and the edges secured with a fold of duct-tape. If your heat exchanger is not fitted with clips to hold a filter in place, you can secure the screen with lengths of bamboo skewers from the supermarket clipped to length and slipped over the screening and under the edges of the heat exchanger. (On our boat I have also added a common household paper mesh filter on the outside face of the metal screen mesh but that's not entirely necessary.) Routne cleaning of the filter screens will be wise.

The foregoing has worked for us and could prove helpful for you as well.

FWIW...
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Old 03-06-2014, 21:10   #13
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Re: Air Conditioning Smell

Tea Tree Oil should work.
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