How to Fix a Smelly Room Air Conditioner


If your air conditioner has developed an odor, don't resort to turning it off and broiling in your home; get to the root of the problem yourself by following these tips.

Before you try any of these suggestions, disconnect the power to the air conditioner.

  • Clean or replace the filter. Change the filter every 30 to 60 days, depending on how much you run the air conditioner, if you have pets and if there‚Äôs a lot of traffic through the house. Clean the filter and front grill of the unit by washing them with warm, soapy water. Use a soft, dry nylon brush the coils and front grill to remove dirt and lint. Be sure to dry the filter completely before reinstalling.
  • Clean mold and mildew from coils. If you spot mold or mildew on the coils behind the filter, use coil cleaner or a warm water and bleach mixture of 20 parts of water to 1 part of bleach in a spray bottle. Flush the coils with the cleaning solution. Rinse with hot, soapy water and make sure that everything is clean and dry before turning the unit back on.
  • Check your drain. The drain pan can hold water and allow mold to grow. Use the warm water and bleach mixture to rinse and flush the drain pan and tube of mold, dirt and odors.
  • Run the fan speed on high. Running the fan on high allows the most air to pass through the coils and slow any mold growth.