Maybe it’s no surprise to you that your house has a distinct odor that almost knocks you over when you walk through the door. You frequently have garbage overflowing onto the floor. Your three dogs are all indoors and your son never bathes them. Speaking of your son, you found all kinds of thriving petri dishes growing in his room from the dishes he left there. If this is your home, you may know exactly where the smell comes from, but what if it’s not?
This isn’t the case for most homeowners who take great pride in the appearance and cleanliness of their house. Diligence can go a long way toward eliminating the odors within your home, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.
You may be tempted to grab that bottle of air freshener, but it could contribute to the terrible smell. After all, when’s the last time you thought the aroma of fresh flowers mixed well with musty garbage scent? Even if it does cover the pungent odor, it may not last long. Smells that continue to persist, even after lighting a candle and spraying air freshener, could be a dangerous symptom of a larger issue.
The reality is that your home may smell bad for a reason that you can’t even physically see.
A couple of issues within your HVAC system may actually be promoting the extreme odor. Before you jump to conclusions, you can find out what may be causing that musty smell in the sections below.
The Reason Behind the Musty Smell
You may be tempted to blame your teenage son for the unpleasant aroma of his dirty socks. However, you checked in his room and his laundry basket is empty, his clothes are washed, and he’s even made some progress toward putting them away. If the smell continues to persist, even with his compliance with necessary household chores, it’s time to start digging deeper.
Experts tend to refer to this problem as the “dirty sock syndrome.” You should know that your HVAC system is largely responsible for this smell, and it should definitely be addressed immediately.
The odor is typically caused by mold or mildew somewhere in your system, sometimes on the evaporator coils or in your ductwork. We will take a look at some of the common issues so you can identify the problem on your own.
Moldy Evaporator Coils
It isn’t uncommon to find mold and mildew on the evaporator coils. After all, your coils often produce condensation, and mold develops in areas where water lingers. This mold smell can actually begin to permeate your home when the condition gets too bad. An air conditioning unit usually blows fresh air over the coils and then into your home, causing the mildew odor to spread.
A relatively handy homeowner may be able to identify if this is the cause all on their own. Take a look at your air conditioning unit to determine if you can visibly see the mold or mildew growth on the evaporator coils. A secondary sign you may have a mold or mildew problem with the coils would be large amounts of ice covering this part of the unit.
Others report experiencing a weaker air flow as a result of moldy evaporator coils.
Even though you may be able to see this problem on your own, cleaning it off on your own is not recommended. Scrubbing and cleaning such an integral part of your air conditioning unit can require some disassembly and specialized training. Contact Classic Air Conditioning and Heating that has qualified technicians to take a closer look.
This may be the more concerning of the two issues for homeowners who are worried about their health. It’s not difficult to see whether or not moldy ductwork is the culprit. All you have to do is take a look around in your air ducts using a bright flashlight.
Identifying the cause of the mold growth is a slightly more challenging undertaking. An excessive amount of water in your ductwork can lead to the mold growth. Homeowners should be aware that the moisture can come from any number of sources:
A leak in the ductwork
High humidity levels
Mold that spread in from a different source
This is a significant issue for homeowners, particularly those who suffer from extreme allergies. When your home has a musty odor and you’re frequently sick, it’s a key indicator that your home has mold or mildew growth somewhere. There’s a high likelihood that it is originating with your HVAC system.
An inexperienced HVAC technician may only suggest a thorough cleaning of the ductwork. However, homeowners should be wary of following this suggestion. Simply cleaning the affected area without identifying the cause will only lead to regrowth. You must first pinpoint the cause of the mold in order to eradicate it from your home for good.
Clogged Condensate Drain Line
Your home may also be overcome with a musty smell because you have a clogged drain line on your air conditioner. The condensation that forms on the evaporator coils is meant to drip off and drain out of the unit. However, when the line gets clogged, the water simply pools up in the bottom of the air conditioner.
A large body of standing water is a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
Identifying this problem is relatively simple for homeowners to manage on their own. You may find a large pool of water leaking around the unit instead of out of the drain lines. Alternatively, your unit may shut off completely, a sign that the drain pan is overflowing.
Unclogging the drain line is simpler than some of the other causes of mold and mildew growth within the HVAC system. A homeowner who isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty can even manage to do it on their own. However, the task is so unpleasant that many would prefer to leave it to the professionals.
Why Getting Rid of Mold Matters
Chances are that you already know mold and mildew spores are bad for your health. Even though you can’t physically see the mold inside your home in many of these situations, you’re still being exposed to it day after day. The air conditioning unit is pumping these mold spores into the home, which can lead to growth in new areas.
The health of your family is at risk with prolonged exposure to the mold. According to the CDC, here are a few of the symptoms for individuals suffering from illnesses related to mold exposure:
Sore or irritated throat
Coughing and wheezing
Getting the issue taken care of properly is essential for your home and health. It isn’t advised to take on the cleaning process on your own. Enlist the help of an air conditioning professional who can help to identify the source of the mold or mildew growth, as well as help to eradicate all traces of the mold spores that lead to new growth.
You can be proactive about monitoring the aroma of your home. Make sure that you don’t have dirty laundry laying around, that the garbage gets taken out in a timely manner, and monitor the humidity levels of your home. Homes with too much humidity often have excessive condensation on the windows, and this moisture can lead to mold growth over time.
You also need to be certain that your air filters are clean.
Following these steps allows you to narrow down where the odor is coming from. If your home has no reason to proliferate such a strong odor, you know that the cause must be deeper than what you can see on the surface. Don’t hesitate to contact your air conditioning repair professionals in San Antonio TX to help you dig deeper into the issue today.