Imagine this: You’re a kid, and your family’s been on the road all day. You and your siblings are jammed into the backseat of the car, arguing over whether the windows should be up or down and who gets to control the radio. Finally, after a bazillion miles and way too many hours, you pull up to your grandma’s house. You pile out of the car and race to the front porch. Grandma opens the screen door wide, and you rush past her into the kitchen. You take a deep breath, and it smells just like you remember: Old mixed with musty mixed with whatever’s going in the crockpot.
That musty odor can be a bit nostalgic at Grandma’s house—but not when our own house smells that way. Then the frantic search begins: Where is that smell coming from and how do I get rid of it?
Admittedly, musty is a bit of a subjective description. It’s not quite “rotten,” and not exactly “mildew.” It’s more like, well… old. And it’s a bit tricky to track down. First, try these tips:
If none of those things eliminates your musty odor, chances are good your HVAC system is to blame.
We’ve helped hundreds of Austin HVAC customers track down musty smells. Typically, we find one or more of the following problems;
Your furnace filter doesn’t just prevent dust and dog hair from moving through your ducts. It also traps mold and mildew. If you don’t regularly change your filters, those stinky microbes flourish. Plus, if the filter is clogged, air can’t move through it—which means all the dust it should be catching settles into your duct work. You can try vacuuming your filter to bring it back to life, but if it’s really packed with grime, it’s best to replace it.
The microbes that cause musty odors love dark, moist environments. Add in some dust and grime, and your ductwork will, sooner than later, become mold and mildew’s best bud. HVAC professionals can snake a tiny camera through your ductwork to scope out trouble spots that need attention.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should consider having your ducts serviced if:
HVAC systems create significant condensation—which is why there’s a drain near your unit. If the drain gets plugged up, moisture can seep into your duct work. Excess moisture can also back up into the evaporator coil pan and accelerate mold growth. Try using a wet-dry vac to clean out the drain line. If that doesn’t seem to help, call in An Austin HVAC professional.
In case you haven’t noticed the theme here, it’s moisture + dirt = musty smell. The same goes for a dirty evaporator coil. To clean the coil:
Many homeowners are uncomfortable working on their HVAC units—for good reason. We’re happy to come check out your system to identify what’s causing your musty odor. We’ll answer all of your questions, show you exactly what we’ve found, and be upfront about what it’ll cost to fix it.
You deserve to enjoy a fresh-smelling home. We can help! To get started, just give us a call.