air conditioner stink

Why does the air conditioner stink, exudes unpleasant odors?

Now you have finally become the proud owner of a modern split system. You no longer care about the sultry heat outside the window or the dank slush in the off-season. There is always a comfortable microclimate in your home or office. However, most users do not even think about the important operating rules that should be taken into account so that the use of an air conditioner brings only joy.

Time passes and a year or two after the purchase, users begin to complain about an unpleasant smell from the air conditioner in the apartment when the device is turned on. External inspection does not mean anything, the device looks like new. What is the problem then? If you remove the decorative cover, you will be horrified to find the culprit of the stench. But, about everything in order.

In this article, we will briefly tell you why the split system stinks, what to do with this unpleasant problem and how to remove the smell from the air conditioner forever (or almost forever). Be sure to read it to the end, here you will find some useful recommendations that every user should know about.

The cause of the unpleasant smell

air conditioner smells unpleasant

The smell of sewage, mold and dampness haunts every second user of the air conditioner. Why? It’s simple: the owners install an air conditioner and completely forget about its maintenance. But the split system consists of many components that need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

In addition, in the process of cooling or heating the air, an impressive amount of condensate is formed, which needs to be drained. And the drainage tray also needs regular cleaning. Otherwise, you will not notice how microorganisms and mold will begin to multiply in the split system, and with them a characteristic unpleasant smell will appear.

In this case, you can easily fix the problem yourself, without the help of a wizard. We will tell you about this a little later. But what if the air conditioner in the apartment smells of freon, burning or exudes other pungent odors? Probably, there could be a leak of freon from the air conditioner, or there were other serious problems. In this case, you need to immediately call a specialist from the service center.

Elimination of odor

If your device began to smell bad with dampness and mold, it is quite possible to fix it at home. Often the problem lies in the internal block. To maintain it, you will not even need to dismantle it. The cleaning procedure is within the power of any adult!

Follow the simple instructions to learn how to get rid of the smell in the room.

Remove the decorative panel

To get to the inside of the air conditioner, you need to remove the decorative panel. It is attached to latches or bolts around the perimeter of the case. Carefully inspect the body of the device, you will probably notice the fasteners.

Remove the filter and clean it

cleaning of air conditioner filters

Immediately after removing the decorative panel, you will see a filter in front of you. It is a mesh base with a plastic frame. It must be removed from the air conditioner. The filter is attached with latches, carefully snap them off and take out the filter. We recommend using protective gloves and glasses. Especially if you suffer from allergies.

This filter is suitable for reusable use, so it can be regularly cleaned from dust. First, use a vacuum cleaner. Next, rinse the filter under running water. Then fill the basin with water and add detergent, mix thoroughly. Put the filter in the basin for 15-30 minutes, depending on the degree of contamination and aggressiveness of the detergent. After removing the filter, rinse it again under running water.

If necessary, remove stubborn dirt with a soft sponge, brush and detergent. Be careful not to damage the mesh part of the filter!

After cleaning, place the filter on a towel in the room, but not in direct sunlight. Let it dry naturally. Do not use a hair dryer to dry.

Clean the internal components of the unit

air conditioner cleaning

While the filter is soaking in the basin, devote this time to cleaning the insides of the unit. Use a vacuum cleaner and a nozzle with a narrow nozzle to remove dirt, insects and other large debris. Fill a bucket with water, dilute the detergent in it and use a soft cloth or sponge to apply it to the visible areas of the air conditioner. You can also use aerosols or products with a built-in sprayer, it is even more convenient than diluting the detergent with water.

Thoroughly clean the fan blades, the radiator, in general, everything that you see. But be careful, you should not put too much effort to clean the ingrained stain. It is better to apply the product and leave it for 15 minutes, and then remove the dirt.

You can also try to clean the drainage tray yourself. There is nothing complicated about this, you can handle it yourself.

After cleaning, let the conditioner dry naturally. Do not use a hair dryer to dry.

That’s it! It remains only to assemble all the components in place and start the air conditioner. After cleaning, we recommend setting the ventilation mode for 1 hour and then adjusting it at your discretion.


maintenance of the indoor air conditioner unit

So that you are no longer haunted by a fetid smell when you turn on the air conditioner, clean it at least before and after the use season. If you live in a yard with a high content of pollen or fluff in the air, clean the device once every two weeks. If you use the device all year round or more than 8 months a year, clean it every two to three months.

We also recommend that you additionally use special antibacterial aerosols for car air conditioners. They will not replace a full-fledged cleaning, but they will be an excellent addition to disinfection.


Modern split systems are technologically advanced and durable, but they are not immune from breakdowns. Especially if you do not take care of timely and regular maintenance. The list of major malfunctions is long, but most often users complain about the smell of sewage, mold and dampness coming from the air conditioner. In 90% of cases, an unpleasant smell from the air conditioner in the apartment indicates an untimely cleaning and disinfection of the indoor unit.

This problem can be fixed with your own hands, spending an hour or two of free time. The cleaning process is simple, any adult user can handle it. But you need to take care of convenient access to the indoor unit in advance. It can be located right under the ceiling, so take care of a stable stepladder. But if you do not have the time or desire to perform cleaning with your own hands, call specialists from a service service that you trust. They will do their job quickly and efficiently.

If you have had experience in cleaning and disinfecting split systems, tell us about it in the comments below. Your recommendations and tips will be useful for both masters and users. Do not forget to read other articles on our website, as well as share your favorite materials on social networks. We wish you good luck!

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  1. […] is a separate big topic, to which we have devoted a separate article. Be sure to read it. In short: often the air conditioner exudes unpleasant odors if you do not […]

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