If you’re a home or a business owner, you know that odd smells are usually a bad sign. While this will probably ring true for your HVAC system, there’s a slight chance that the smell is an easy fix. In this post, we’ll take a look at this common question we hear all the time: why does my airflow smell musty? We’ll also cover what you can do about it.

Why Does My Air Flow Smell Musty?

The most likely cause is mold, moisture, and bacteria in your air vents or air handler. A dirty air filter can also cause a musty smell, so we’ll check that first. Let’s work together to figure out what might be causing your musty smell problems.

What to Do if You Smell Musty Air

#1: Turn Off Your AC or Heat

If you turn off your HVAC system and the air still smells musty, you probably have something else in your home that is causing the problem. However, if you turn off your AC or heat and the musty smell fades, you’ll need to do a bit more investigating below.

#2: Check Your HVAC Filter

All intake air is passed through your system’s air filter before it gets heated or cooled by the units in your home. Therefore, if the air filter is moldy or damp, it can cause your outflow air to smell musty. You can check your air filter by going down into your basement or into your utility closet where the air handler is located. This will be a large steel or painted metal box with slits on the sides of it. Your air filter will likely be along one of the sides of the unit in a pull-out slot.

#3: Replace Your HVAC Filter

Even if you pull out your filter and it looks fine, you should probably put in a brand new one, just in case there’s something on the filter that you cannot see. Make sure to replace your filter with the correct size and type of filter that is best for your home and area. If you’d like, you can try an activated charcoal filter to help with odors. However, as you’ll see soon, a musty smell can come from other sources, too.

#4: Call an HVAC Professional

Honestly, we wish we could tell you that you can diagnose further issues yourself, but it’s best to let a professional take a look inside your HVAC system. If you’ve eliminated the filter as the cause, the problem lies within your system and will need to be sought out and identified. This could be as simple as replacing a segment of air duct or as complicated as a complete breakdown and scrub-down. There’s no way to know what you’re getting into until you open up the system.

HVAC Professionals in Atlanta

If you’re in Atlanta and you’re asking why does my airflow smell musty, check your air filter first. Replace the air filter and let your AC run for a couple of hours. If the problem isn’t resolved, give us a call here at Quality Air Experts Atlanta. We can run a diagnosis and help you determine whether it’s worth investing in an air duct cleanup service (or if you should just replace your air vents completely).