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  1. #1

    Musty stench with central air

    Hi all,

    Every year when summer gets going I get an awful musty stench pouring out of the AC vent. The furnace/AC unit is in the basement which has a pretty funky smell by itself. Has the furnace been contaminated? Would duct cleaning help the issue? It smells in the winter too when the heat fires but not nearly as bad. The house is located in the northeast. Please help, I'm losing sleep over this stench.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    97
    I have sometimes found that the coil isn't slanted properly. If you can access the coil something you can do is poor some bleach in the coil pan. They also make tablets to put in there. Another thing that should be done is a good coil cleaning. There are some cleaners you could buy to spray the coil to kill bacteria. If you don't think you can handle this, you will have to call a service tech for a clean and check.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    906
    What's the relative humidity in the basement?
    -If you won't turn it on then nothing else matters.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    97
    Just thought of something else. If the drain is tied directly into your sewer drain without a trap, this could be causing some problems!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    307
    Pan tablets should solve this problem, just be sure to wear latex gloves when handling them
    Extended dehydration is the key

  6. #6

    Pan tablets?

    Thanks everyone, where can I find pan tablets and coil cleaners? I have a dehumidifier that keeps it at 50 percent during the summer. The condensation pump drains into a sink in the basement which has a trap.

    What are your thoughts on whole system humidifiers during winter months? I have one attached to the ductwork that drips water over a metal filter. I installed a new drain hose this past winter and the inside is black and looking moldy. Is this normal? The filter was also very musty come spring.

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,262
    Cooling coils, drain pans, and ducts are damp much of the time. Try operating you air handler in the fan "on" mode. This will throurghly dry the coil, pan, and ducts between cooling cycles. It will also raise the %RH in your home. But your ducts will not stink as bad. Also fresh air ventilation would help. Try to lenghten your cooling cycle thus also lengthening the off time. This will reduce biological growth conditions. If you are not in the home, turn the a/c t-stat high with the fan "on". When you return operate the a/c for an extened time to increase the moisture removal. You have a wet spots in the system that is remaining damp most of the time. You need several hours of dry time everyday to beak the biological growth cycle. If the drying decreases the odor, maintain <50%RH throughout the home and duct system with a ducted dehumidifier. Keep us posted.
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2,424
    That's what I always do in my car. I shut off the AC a few minutes before I park, put the fan on full blast. Been years and I don't have stinky A/C yet

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