How to Clean Your Ducted Air Con Filter

Summer is fast approaching. Many people are firing up their air conditioners and discovering that they’ve developed some musty smells over the winter.

If that sounds familiar, it’s time to book an air conditioning maintenance appointment. In some cases, musty smells can occur when your system goes unused for too long. Other times, it’s a sign that your air conditioner needs a little attention.

The good news is that regular maintenance can usually take care of the problem. If your air conditioner smells musty, we’re going to tell you what to look out for and how to fix the most common cause.


Causes of Musty Air Conditioner Smells

Musty air conditioners are a common problem. In most cases, the issue is caused by one of three things:

  • Built up dust. Air conditioners recirculate the air that’s inside your home, filtering it in the process. Filtering removes dust, dirt, pollen, pollution and other nasties from the air. These things build up on the filter and are the most common cause of musty smells.
  • Mould and mildew. Your air conditioner extracts small amounts of moisture from the air while it’s operating. This water normally drains out of your home through a small pipe, but the dampness can cause mould and mildew to grow inside the unit.
  • Rodent and animal damage. Pets, rodents and animals like possums can all take their toll on your air conditioner. Simple things like build ups of pet hair, animal urine or rodents chewing their way into your system can leave behind strange smells that need to be addressed.


Preventing Musty Smells

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to air conditioning maintenance.

Because air conditioners filter the air that passes through the system, they naturally build up deposits of dust, pollen, pollution and other contaminants. The best thing you can do to prevent musty smells is to have your filter cleaned by an air conditioning technician.

Between maintenance appointments, keep an eye on the wall unit and outdoor compressor unit. Make sure the compressor unit is clean and that it doesn’t become blocked by things like fallen leaves and grass clippings.

Inside the home, keep furniture and curtains away from the wall unit or ducts. Blocking airflow like this can encourage mould to grow, which will worsen any musty smells.


How to Clean Your Air Conditioner’s Filter

Split system air conditioners should be serviced every 12 months. In between maintenance appointments, you can clean the filter and control dusty build ups:

  1. Open the front cover of the split system unit. The cover is usually held in place with clips or screws. Check the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website if you can’t figure out how to open the system.
  2. The filter sits just behind the front cover. Remove the dirty filter and take it outside so it can be cleaned. At this point you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove any buildups of dust on the inside of the system.
  3. Vacuum the filter to remove the majority of the dust.
  4. Use a garden hose to thoroughly rinse both sides of the filter. Any stubborn dust can be removed by gently washing with warm, soapy water. Make sure to rinse away all soapy residue.
  5. Filters that smell noticeably musty can be soaked in a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. This will neutralise the smell. After soaking, rinse the filter with clean water one more time.
  6. Leave the filter in a covered, shady spot to dry fully.
  7. Once dry, the filter can be reinstalled into the wall unit. Replace the front cover and turn the system on to make sure everything works as normal.

Musty air conditioning filters can’t always be cleaned. They’re typically made of cloth, so bacteria and dirt can get into the fibres and cause unusual smells. 

Contact your air conditioning technician if your air conditioner still smells musty after cleaning the filter. They’ll be able to diagnose the issue and supply a new filter to get rid of any unwanted smells.


Get Rid of Musty Smells with Air Conditioning Maintenance by Technicool!

Air conditioners often become musty when they go unused for long periods of time. It’s a good idea to have your system serviced in the lead up to summer to make sure it’s ready for the hot days ahead. If your air con is smelling a bit musty after winter, it’s time to book an appointment with Technicool!

Technicool provides split system air conditioning maintenance, installation and repairs across Brisbane. We provide routine maintenance that can take care of any unusual smells you might have noticed. We’ll also clean and test the system to ensure it’s in perfect condition.

Don’t wait until the dead of summer to have your air con serviced – beat the rush and make an appointment with Technicool today!

Technicool Air Conditioning

Artick License No: AU04080
QBCC License No: 700698

7/152 Bluestone Cct, Seventeen Mile Rocks QLD 4073