What to do if your air conditioning has an odour


With summer making an appearance every now and again it is likely that your air conditioning units are being used more frequently than in recent months. When it is left for a while some issues can go unnoticed such as an odour coming from unit. This can be due to a number of reasons but it all comes down to cleaning out the unit.

The first thing to check will be finding out where the smell is coming from. There are a number of sources that need to be checked such as the filter, drain line, drain pan and inside the unit itself. The most obvious thing to look for would be mould or a small dead animal such as a mouse. Do make sure you have switched the air conditioning unit off before carrying out any checks or cleaning.

If the cause of the smell is the filter these can either be cleaned or replaced. Most units have filters that are reusable which means they just need to be cleaned and dried off. The best way to clean one is by using warm soapy water with some diluted bleach. If it is really dirty then give it a couple of washes to make sure it is clean before refitting it. Double check there aren’t any signs of mould, if there is, this will be the source of the smell and it is best to just replace the filter.

When checking the drain pan you are looking to see if there is old water sitting in it. If so this can also cause a really bad odour. Once again this can be cleaned by using soapy water with dish detergent. You can also clean it with diluted bleach or a vinegar solution. The pan does need to be completely dry before it is put back into place.

If you have a window air conditioning unit, it is unlikely that you have a drain line that can be removed and cleaned. If this is the case then just clean the parts you can see with a toothbrush. If you have a unit where you do have a condensation drain line then you can flush this out with hot water and bleach to ensure it is clean.

Overall, you need to ensure that the unit is clean and that there is no mould growing as this is the most common cause of odours from the unit. If you don’t feel comfortable carrying out these checks yourself make sure you call a professional to help.