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  1. #1
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    Slight fishy smell from utility room when AC is running

    Hi guys.
    I recently had issues with a wet filter. I had my coils replaced which fixed the issue. Was hoping that would also fix another issue I was having but it didn't.

    When the AC is running (and after it shuts off for a while) I have noticed a slight fishy smell coming from the utility room. My desk is literally right next to the door and that's the only place in the apartment I can smell anything.

    Is a slight smell normal? If not, any ideas? Trying not to get paranoid. I have read some other articles saying it could be electric issues with outlets or switches burning out/overheating but the smell is only in the utility room itself, not at the breakers, not at any light switches or receptacles.

    There is some old insulation on the sidewalls next to the filter (see photos) that might be part of the smell. Could that be it? It seems to smell when the AC is on, but not if it has been off for a while. It's strange. There was insulation on the bottom too that was getting wet because of the coil issue that was already removed.

    Could it be the condensate pan or something else?

    It's just strange because when the system is off for a while I don't really smell anything.

    Would be open to any ideas. If this is something I should just ignore, or if not, what I should ask be checked out or fixed.

    Thanks!

    Here is a photo of what the terrible setup in the closet looks like, as well as a close up of the insulation:



  2. #2
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    Jul 2013
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    Could be something growing in the drain pan. You can pour a mild bleach solution in the pan and see if that resolves it.

    Unrelated, that float switch on the left hand side looks way too high to be effective. I would have that lowered to prevent a very expensive water leak.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CircusEnvy View Post
    Could be something growing in the drain pan. You can pour a mild bleach solution in the pan and see if that resolves it.

    Unrelated, that float switch on the left hand side looks way too high to be effective. I would have that lowered to prevent a very expensive water leak.
    Thanks. If it was something growing would it make sense that it only really smells when the system is on and not when it has been off for a while?

    For the switch, this is an apartment complex and I believe they are all set up like that. I don't know if that is something they will change.

  4. #4
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    PS. If I were to try bleach, how much do I use? And how much should I dilute it? And would I pour it straight down this tube that is in the pan? Thanks!


  5. #5
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    No more then 5% bleach in water

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pecmsg View Post
    No more then 5% bleach in water
    Thanks! So how much actual volume should I pour in? And do I pour it straight down that tube or into the pan surrounding the tube?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by iyiyi View Post
    Thanks! So how much actual volume should I pour in? And do I pour it straight down that tube or into the pan surrounding the tube?
    In the pan surrounding the tube. It might be better if you could use a spray bottle cover every square inch of the pan. Do it a couple times each day for a few days and see if that resolves your issue.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CircusEnvy View Post
    In the pan surrounding the tube. It might be better if you could use a spray bottle cover every square inch of the pan. Do it a couple times each day for a few days and see if that resolves your issue.
    Thanks! Ive wiped that out a few times with a paper towel and vinegar and got a lot of black funk but still have the smell. Will the bleach do more than a regular cleaner and scrubbing would do?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by iyiyi View Post
    Thanks! I’ve wiped that out a few times with a paper towel and vinegar and got a lot of black funk but still have the smell. Will the bleach do more than a regular cleaner and scrubbing would do?
    Bleach will kill anything microbial that might be causing the smell, if it's originating from the drain pan. If sanitizing it doesn't help, the situation may be more complicated as it could be coming from the duct work, coil, or elsewhere.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CircusEnvy View Post
    Bleach will kill anything microbial that might be causing the smell, if it's originating from the drain pan. If sanitizing it doesn't help, the situation may be more complicated as it could be coming from the duct work, coil, or elsewhere.
    Thanks! The coil was replaced last week and the smell is only in the closet (not in any other rooms) so I can probably rule out the coil or ducts.

    I think its the insulation or the pan. Will try bleach and go from there!

    Do you guys think its safe to remove that sidewall insulation in the photos? I dont see what purpose it serves and its very old and falling apart

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by iyiyi View Post
    Do you guys think it’s safe to remove that sidewall insulation in the photos? I don’t see what purpose it serves and it’s very old and falling apart
    No, don't do that. It keeps the sides of the unit from sweating. You can take a vacuum to it gently and spray it with something antimicrobial, but be careful with it because it does tear easily.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CircusEnvy View Post
    No, don't do that. It keeps the sides of the unit from sweating. You can take a vacuum to it gently and spray it with something antimicrobial, but be careful with it because it does tear easily.
    Can I replace it? Its falling apart. Is it just insulation or something specific?
    And the bottom part was removed. Maintenance said it wasnt needed

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by iyiyi View Post
    Can I replace it? It’s falling apart. Is it just insulation or something specific?
    And the bottom part was removed. Maintenance said it wasn’t needed
    They do sell insulation like that in sheets, which gets cut and glued to the surface. But if you're renting, I wouldn't advise you to try and do something like that. If the air handler starts sweating and causes water damage, you might open a can of worms for yourself.

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