If you're noticing a stale or musty odor when your air conditioner is running, it's likely a humidity problem. Some of the most common causes of humidity problems for air conditioners involve skipping regular maintenance.
Not Replacing Filters
The Problem: If the filters in your air conditioner aren't regularly replaced, they can become clogged with dust. As moisture in the air makes this dust damp, it can become a haven for mildew or mold. This mold or mildew can even spread throughout the interior of the air conditioner, so the sooner you catch the problem, the better.
The Fix: If you have a musty smell coming from your air conditioner, pull out the air filter and see what condition it's in. If it looks dirty, replace it with a new one. This may clear up the problem completely. However, if you replace the air filter and the smell continues, you may need to disassemble the conditioner completely and clean the interior. If you aren't sure how to clean the interior, you may need to talk to a professional, like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. to get some help.
Skipping Regular Checkups
The Problem: The air conditioner as a whole is a complicated machine, so it's important to have a professional take a look at it regularly. Having your air conditioner checked annually means catching problems like dirty condensation coils, clogged drains, or leaky lines. All of these can lead to a buildup of humidity within the air conditioner, potentially leading to mold and mildew.
The Fix: You can use your air conditioner's manual to disassemble it and check the interior for obvious signs of mildew or mold, which can be cleaned away with bleach and water. However, you should still have a technician give your air conditioner a complete check-up to pinpoint any problems in the unit's interior. In addition to a technician's expertise, air conditioners use refrigerants to cool the air, and these refrigerants are environmental hazards that should only be handled by trained professionals.
Using an Air Conditioner That's Too Powerful
The Problem: Air conditioners both cool and dehumidify the air in your home, but dehumidifying takes time. An air conditioner that's the right size will simultaneously cool the air and dehumidify it. An air conditioner that's too powerful – designed for a larger space than it's installed in – will actually cool the air too quickly.
The Fix: Choosing the right size air conditioner depends on many factors – the size of the area to be cooled, the climate you live in, your home's insulation, and even how many people are living in the house. A certified contractor will be able to do a load calculation for your home. If it turns out that your air conditioner is not the right size, you will need to have it replaced with a new unit.