How Can You Deodorize an Air Conditioner?

Deodorize a central air conditioning unit by changing the filter, cleaning the drip pan and calling for professional help if necessary. Eliminating these odors makes the home a healthier and more pleasant place to live.

  1. Change the filter

    If a filter is dirty, it sometimes holds odors that pass through the ducts. Look for the filter inside the air handler or at the air return duct. Replace the filter with one that is the same size. Changing the filter regularly improves system efficiency.

  2. Clean the drip pan

    Remove the screws on the air handler to reveal the drip pan. If it has standing water, the drain line could be plugged and require cleaning. Clean the drain pan using vinegar. The acidity of vinegar helps to kill mold and bacteria growing in the wet area. The vinegar odor dissipates quickly.

  3. Call for professional help

    If the odors remain after changing the filter and cleaning the drip pan, the problem might be in the ducts. Leaks in ducts from unheated basements allow moisture to collect in the ducts providing a growing medium for bacteria and mold. If smokers previously occupied the home, tobacco residue sticking to the heat exchanger coils exposes home occupants to second-hand smoke. Call a HVAC service company and have the system evaluated and cleaned to eliminate odor.