Combating Foul Odors in Your HVAC System

Your HVAC system is supposed to provide clean ventilation, not smelly air. Obviously, radiating malodor is indicative of greater damage to your HVAC system. Pinpointing the source of said odor — be it from mold/mildew growth to electrical issues — can ultimately save you money and protect your health and those around you. Here are some ways to assist you in combating foul odors in your HVAC system.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to combating foul odors in your HVAC system is to clean the evaporator coil and clear the drain pan.

If you’re wondering what the evaporator coil does, it mainly serves to remove the heat and humidity from indoors. So whether you’re in an office or at home, it’s your evaporator coil that’s hard at work to make the environment comfortable. Nevertheless, since its job is to remove the heat and humidity, the evaporator coil is susceptible to condensation and debris buildup — which can lead to musty odors emanating from your HVAC system.

To clean the evaporator coil, you can use a mild detergent (a simple solution of 10% bleach water works) to kill mold buildup without doing damage to your system. Wipe down with a soft brush or cloth. Commercial coil cleaners are also available for purchase.

Another option is to use a brush on its own to scrape away at dust, dirt, and hard-to-remove material. However, avoid using hard-bristle brushes and materials of that ilk, as they can damage the system’s parts.

Clear the Drain Pan

As its name suggests, the drain pan is where all condensation and water buildup gets deposited after your evaporator coil finishes its job. Clearing the drain pan, in turn, is imperative — as it can lead to bacteria growth and buildup in your HVAC system. Thus, clearing the drain pan is the next step in combating foul odors.

The first step in clearing the drain pan is ensuring that your HVAC system is shut off. You’ll then want to take aim at the drain pan with a wet vac — making sure that all water has been seeped up in the pan and its surrounding areas. Use soap and water to kill any bacteria or mold that may have built up.

This step is extremely important, as not only will drain pans lead to foul odors, but they can also be a breeding ground for legionella — an extremely harmful bacteria that leads to Legionnaires’ disease if inhaled.

Remove Debris and Pests

Removing debris buildup and pests is another step you can take in combating foul odors in your HVAC system.

No matter how clean your home or office may be, dust will still travel freely throughout the air. One of the places that said dust will land on are the coils in your HVAC system. On top of that, dirt can build up on the coils of your system if not properly tended to as well. In turn, not cleaning the coils will lead to a drop in energy production.

Furthermore, dust and dirt buildup inside the system is known to create harsh smells, especially when the system is heated. Having an expert technician examine and clean your ductwork and coils is the best course of action.

You’ll also need an expert technician if you’re dealing with dead rodents or animals in your system. Critters like rats, roaches, and other creatures often end up dying within your system — and as they decay, they (obviously) leave behind horrible smells in the system. Have a trained professional safely dispose of the pests and clean the area as needed.

Clean Your Air Filters

Lastly, cleaning your air filter marks an important step in combating foul odors. As your air filter serves as a barrier between dust/dirt/debris and clean air, they soon build up and can actually trap odors in your home.

Either clean your air filters or replace them. It’s generally advised that air filters should be replaced every 90 days.

Combating Foul Odors with XTRAIRE

We here at XTRAIRE specialize in a number of HVAC-related causes — be it commercial or residential. Servicing all of Long Island, we take special care of your HVAC needs — from combating foul odors to general maintenance. To learn more about how we at XTRAIRE can help your home or business, please visit our website and contact us to schedule an appointment today!