Mold produces a distinctively unpleasant odor. The specifics of the scent may vary, and it could be stale, earthy, or may even smell like rotting vegetation—none of which are pleasant. When the smell seems to be emanating from a specific vent in your ducted air conditioner, you have a problem. When the smell seems to be coming from all the vents in your ducted air conditioner, you could have a serious problem.
Before jumping to any conclusions, you should see if you can find a solution yourself. To start with, make sure that all air conditioning vents have unimpeded airflow. Vents cannot even be partially obstructed by placing anything over them, and furniture should not be placed against a vent. The improvement to airflow may improve (and even remove) a low-key musty smell of mold. You'll also need to do some cleaning.
The unit's filters are mounted immediately behind the wall-mounted vents. You'll need to cautiously detach these vents (some may require a screwdriver). The filter behind the vent should simply click out of position. It can be washed (using warm water and a mild household detergent) and then allowed to air dry. Once thoroughly dried, replace the filters and operate the AC as normal. If the musty smell of mold was only low-key, then this cleaning should be adequate to remove it. But what if the scent is more prominent and your corrective efforts have little effect?
Professional air conditioning repair and maintenance are required. The accumulation of moisture inside the unit has led to the proliferation of mold. The location must be determined. It may be in the evaporator, which actively cools warm air and may be (for reasons not yet known) producing excess condensation. The unit's outside drainage may also be broken or clogged. The source of moisture must be found and repaired. The unit's internal ducts must be cleaned to remove mold.
This cleaning is quite intensive, and any sodden HVAC filtration or insulation may need to be removed and replaced. The ductwork will be cleaned with a specialized anti-fungal solution to kill mold, and a HEPA filter vacuum device may be used to remove any remaining microorganisms. The end result is a clean, disinfected ducted air conditioner that's no longer placing your family at risk.
The scent of mold emanating from a ducted air conditioner can be more serious than it first seems, so unless you're able to fix the problem with your own basic remediation efforts, call in the professionals.
Contact air conditioning repair services to learn more.