April 6, 2020

Updated: April 15th, 2024

Air conditioners play a crucial role in maintaining a comfortable indoor environment by continuously recycling the air to keep it refreshing and cool. Nevertheless, when an unpleasant or musty odor emanates from your air conditioner, it can significantly affect your mood and overall comfort. Musty smells can result from various factors, including mold or mildew growth within the unit, accumulated dust and debris, or stagnant water in the drainage system.

Fortunately, these issues can be effectively addressed and eliminated with the assistance of professional cleaning services. Expert technicians have the knowledge, experience, and specialized equipment to thoroughly clean and sanitize your air conditioning system, ensuring that it operates efficiently and emits only clean, fresh air into your living space.

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What causes your air conditioner to smell musty?

Moisture is the building block for mold and mildew growth which can cause a musty smell from your air conditioners. Here are some common reasons that could be causing a mildew odor to develop in your AC.

Clogged filters

Air conditioning systems trap tiny particles that settle in the filters over time and cause mildew growth when exposed to moisture. If your air conditioner’s filter is dirty and clogged, this may result in your AC smelling musty.

Clogged drain lines

The condensate drain line helps in removing the condensation generated by the coils. A clogged drain can promote the growth of mildew around the coil and cause your air conditioner to smell musty.

Also read: 10 Common Air Conditioning Problems You Should Know About

How do you get the musty smell out of an air conditioner?

You can clean the air conditioner yourself. However, you should take some precautions to prevent any damage to the AC or injury to yourself. Here are the steps that will help you get rid of the musty smell of your air conditioner:

  • Carefully remove the outer case that exposes the fans, coil, and compressor.
  • Move the unit to a place where it will remain secure during the cleaning process.
  • Blow compressed air from a distance to ensure that internal components do not get damaged.
  • Use a brush or a smaller piece of cloth to clean the finer dust particles in the front and rear of the unit.
  • Clean the vent and the duct carefully with some cleaning solution and then clear out the cleaning solution with water.
  • Flush the drip tray to clear off all dust and debris, however, do not apply excess pressure.
  • Allow the air conditioning unit to dry for a couple of hours and wipe it with a clean cloth.
  • Reassemble the unit only after it has completely dried.

Also read: No Air Blowing from AC Vents in House? Here’s How to Fix

When to call a professional for your air conditioner that smells musty

The location and extent of the mildew might make cleaning the unit difficult. Also, your AC may continue to produce a musty smell due to moisture and filth collected in the coil and ductwork, which is challenging to clean yourself. Professional cleaning can help in resolving the root cause of the problem and keep the musty smell away.

If you are looking for AC cleaning services in Orange County, contact us today. Our experts will ensure your AC unit is mildew free and smells as fresh as ever!


White Mechanical, Inc.

Founded in 2002, White Mechanical, Inc. in Laguna Hills, CA, is one of the most trusted and licensed (HVAC) service providers, proudly serving Orange County and the surrounding communities. Our management team has more than 28 years of experience in various aspects of HVAC technology. All our HVAC technicians are professionally skilled and certified to deliver outstanding residential HVAC services as well as commercial HVAC services to our clients. We offer professional HVAC services including installation, maintenance, air conditioning repair, and more at very reasonable prices.

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