Are you sitting at home plugging your nose and wondering what the heck is making your home’s air conditioner smell like a wet dog? Wonder no more. We’ve got a lot of experience with smelly air conditioners, whether it’s from a leak, mold, or a dead rodent in your ductwork. There are many reasons that your AC might smell like a wet pooch – but we’ve seen a few happen more often than others. Luckily, there’s usually a quick fix for a stinky air conditioner once you’ve determined the cause.
Possible Reasons Your Home’s AC Smells Like a Wet Dog
Dirty Sock Syndrome
Dirty sock syndrome is a well-known problem in the AC world. If you have dirty sock syndrome in your indoor AC, you’ll know it. Dirty sock syndrome is the result of mold, fungal, and bacterial grown inside of your AC, resulting in a home air conditioner that smells like a wet dog (or worse). The moisture from your AC evaporator coil combines with spores, making the perfect environment for mold and other unwanted substances to grow and thrive.
Dead Animal in Ductwork
A sad but true fact of life is that sometimes critters find their way into your air conditioner’s ductwork – but never find their way out. A dead animal in your AC ducts can definitely lead to an air conditioner smelling like a wet dog, so it’s important that you inspect your ductwork at the first sign of an odor.
Old Air Filter
Your home’s wet dog smell could also be due to an old air filter. If you notice musty or moldy odors, the first thing to do is check and change your AC air filter to make sure that it is not the source of the foul smell.
What if your air conditioner isn’t the cause of the wet dog smell? If you have pets, it could just be that you notice pet odors more when you turn on your AC. This is because your air conditioner stirs up odor particles in the air, circulating them throughout your home and giving the illusion that it’s your home’s air conditioner that smells like a wet dog. If you have carpets or upholstered furniture, try an over the counter odor fighting product, such as Odoban or Odor Xit to see if the wet dog smell disappears.
What to Do if Your Home’s Air Conditioner Smells Like a Wet Dog
1. Check Drainage Pans
Check your air conditioner’s drainage pan to make sure that it is draining and not holding into any water. This could easily be the source of your smelly air conditioner woes.
2. Check Evaporator Coil
Your evaporator coil is what harbors all of the bacteria and mold spores once they enter your home’s air conditioner. The only surefire way to get rid of a wet dog smell in your home’s air conditioner is to clean your evaporator coil – or hire a professional to perform an AC tune-up and cleaning for you.
3. Check Air Filter
What’s an easy way to freshen up your home’s air? Change your air filter! It’s easy, quick, and you can do it yourself. Check your local hardware store for an air filter that fits your unit.
4. Check for Leaks
Any leaks in your air conditioning system will introduce moisture – and a perfect habitat for mold, bacteria, and worse. Have your air conditioner repair technician of choice inspect your AC and check for any water leaks.
5. Check Ducts for Mold or Bacteria
If dirty ductwork is the source of your home’s air conditioner smelling like a wet dog, then cleaning your air ducts is the way to solve the problem. Duct cleaning will not only remove pet hair, dust, and debris from your air ducts, but it will also remove mold, mildew, and greatly improve your indoor air quality.