Musty Smelling Air Conditioner

Updated on June 10, 2008
D.C. asks from Nashua, NH
9 answers

Does anyone know how to remove the musty smell from the window air conditioners? It has been stored in the basement over the winter and now it is musty smelling. I remember it getting this smell last summer as well and I sprayed it with Lysol but it didn't really help. If I have to have the house closed up and listen to the constant noise I don't want the house to smell as well.

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answers from Boston on

I found this on the internet....pretty much the last paragraph was about cleaning, but thought the whole thing was good.

Window air conditioners are usually plugged in and forgotten – until they stop cooling properly, or until they exhibit problems. Don’t just plug in your window air conditioner and ignore it. There are things you must do to properly maintain your window air conditioning unit in an effort to avoid problems. Taking proper care of your window air conditioner will ensure the unit will continue to provide the cold air you want when you need it the most. Don’t wait for problems to start before taking the necessary steps to keep your window air conditioner running properly.

The following information provides facts and tips on what you must do to avoid problems with your window air conditioner. Also included are troubleshooting tips for correcting common problems with window air conditioning units.

Preventing Problems

Any item that uses an air filter can’t run properly if the filter is dirty, and window air conditioners are no exception. If you want your window air conditioning unit to run properly and efficiently, it’s imperative that you change or clean the filter once a month.

The filter isn’t the only part of a window air conditioner that requires regular care and cleaning. The condenser coils can become covered in dirt and dust, and they should be cleaned at least once a year. Even if condenser coils don’t appear to be dirty, grime and dust can hide in places not readily visible.

While the air conditioner is unplugged and the condenser coils are dry, vacuum the coils with a crevice tool, blow away dirt and dust with an air compressor, or clean the coils with a soft brush such as an old toothbrush. This is an easy preventative measure that you can do yourself in an effort to avoid problems while lowering your electric bill in the process.



answers from Boston on

Does it have a filter you can take out and clean? That might help. We actually had to replace an air conditioner last year because of the musty smell, but it was pretty old.



answers from Barnstable on

I would clean the filter.



answers from Providence on

Time for a new filter. In the main summer months the filter should be changed once a month for the best results. (June/July/August)



answers from Boston on

We had the same problem this year. Last night it was even worse and we ended up going out and purchasing a new one. I opened up the old one and it was all moldy inside. Especially since it is in our 16 month old's room, it just wasn't worth the risk. Look at it closely. I hope the listed home remedies work but if it doesn't, you may just have to replace it. Sorry.



answers from Hartford on

I just put mine it...Every year before it is put in, I plug it in, in the garage first and spray it ( while on high fan) with Lysol spray to disinfect it. This kills the germs and any mold that may have formed. Changing the filter is always a good idea several times in the early Summer due to the dirty air and pollen too. Also, while it is on you can spray Lysol into the intake vent and this helps too. Hope this workes for you, mine is fresh and fine.



answers from Portland on

Hello D....I'm not an 'expert ' on these things, but 'musty' sometimes is a warning to it's companion 'moldy' and 'moldy' ofcourse can lead to viral bacteria...nothing you want blowing out into your family's air. My thought is to check and see where the filter is (usually a screen looking feature) and simply wash it out under your faucet. I believe most home air conditioners have least the ones I've been around over the years. I would think this would do the trick! Good luck and Green Blessings, N. C



answers from New London on

I have dealt with this myself! I actually had my husband put the acs out in the yard before we installed them. I sprayed them down with the hose and scrubbed them with soapy water- taking the filters out and washing them as well. Then I rinsed them well and let them dry in the sun. The soapy water freshened them up and the sun killed any mildew that had grown on them over the winter. It worked very well.
Good luck.



answers from Bangor on

I think I heard something once about running some white vinegar through... it's safe (not delicious, though) for you and baby. see if you can find anything by googling that. sorry to not be more informative.

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