If My Heating And Cooling Unit Smells Bad When It Is Running, What Can I Do?

If my heating and cooling unit smells bad when it is running, what can I do? Mold can be a serious health hazard and is detectable in heating and cooling units. Heating and cooling expert Annette Floridia...

Heating and cooling expert Annette Floridia says that mold is the first thing you should check for if your heating or air conditioning system smells bad when running.


"If you have a mold problem in your system, you will want to definitely address that. There are mold test kits that you can buy at hardware stores to test for mold in your home. If you suspect mold, you will want to check around your air-handler first to make sure that there is no condensation or leaks that have caused mold to start in your system. A bad smell is usually the first sign of mold," she says. UV lights are one way of dealing with and preventing mold in heating and cooling systems. Once you have identified and eliminated the cause of moisture in your duct system, a professional mold remediator can help remove the mold, mildew, and bacteria lurking there and prevent its reoccurrence.




"Mold can make you sick. Some people are allergic to it. For example, when my husband started with the company he was cleaning systems. The dirt, mold, and bacteria that were built-up in the air conditioning systems made him physically sick. It can be a health issue and some people are highly allergic to mold and can have problems with it everyday when they are in their house. They feel stopped up and can't breathe right. It can cause headaches. It can cause a person to not have any energy. There are a lot of different health issues that are associated with mold and bacteria built up in an air conditioning system," says Floridia.

Eradicating mold from a home can be a very expensive endeavor, but is well worth the improved air quality that you are breathing and may even be necessary to remove illness-causing bacteria.

Floridia also suggests checking your filter as the source of bad smells. A dirty filter can sometimes begin to smell. If you have pets in your house, that odor can also get trapped in your system. Floridia recommends having a heating and air technician clean and service your system as the first step in resolving the problem. She also recommends investing in Trane's Whole House Electronic Air Cleaner, which eliminates many odors. She says you can blow cigarette smoke directly into it, and it will not come out on the other side. It completely traps and kills all odors that would be going through your system.

Other solutions for getting rid of bad odors include opening your doors and windows during a sunny day to air out your house. Vinegar and baking soda are also good odor eliminators and can be placed in open containers near the source of the unpleasant smell. An electronic air cleaner may also help you eliminate bad odors in your home. These may be incorporated into your air conditioner's filter or stand alone. There are also companies that offer air conditioning system cleaning, but these should be checked out thoroughly to verify that the company has proper qualifications and that they don't use any harmful chemicals that could be distributed throughout your home when you operate your heating or cooling system.

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