How to Remove Odor From Air Ducts?

We will tell you how to make your ducts odorless

Written by Olivia Paxton. Updated on How to Remove Odor From Air Ducts

One of the most unpleasant factors that one can face is a musty or unpleasant smell. Especially if this smell is all around your home!

Bad odors are not just unpleasant, they can also cause headaches, distraction, and general discomfort.

And whilst most nasty smells are produced by the common and well-known “suspects” like trash or soiled areas, in some cases, the bad smell may occur in a place that you would not even think about: in your air ducts!

And since these systems are usually quite hard to reach, homeowners keep on wondering whether or not they can clean their air ducts somehow without a professional air duct cleaning company.

In this article, we are going to give you the answer to the most common question that sounds like “how do I get rid of the smell in my air conditioner?”.

In addition, you will learn why it is preferable to hire professionals to do that, and also, we will share a few DIY remedies that can be used if you decide to get rid of the nasty odor yourself.

After you read this article, you will know how to get the smell out of vents in a house quickly and effectively, and how to find out that your AC vents might need some cleaning and deodorizing.

How to Get Odor Out Of Air Vents?

If you notice that your house is full of unpleasant odor from AC vents, you will definitely want to do something to get rid of that as soon as possible!

An unpleasant odor, no matter where it comes from and what its source is, often becomes a cause of headaches, not saying about a bad mood.

This is why below you can check out the main troubleshooting methods we have collected for you. They will be helpful for getting those musty and moldy odors out of your ductwork:

  • Clean your malfunctioning air conditioner unit because it definitely has either a dirty evaporator coil, a clogged condensate drain line, or a filthy air filter.
  • Install duct filter pads in your vents in order to control the smell.
  • Apply DIY odor-control methods such as baking soda to your air ducts.
  • Consider that the problem may be bigger than something you can solve. That is why consider hiring a professional service to check and fix the issue.

However, this is not all.

How to Get Odor Out Of Air Vents
benedixs via VistaCreate

Even though you have figured out that the musty smell comes from your air vents, your next step will be to remove it. To get rid of a bad odor that is coming from your air conditioner vents and is spreading all over the home several methods can be used.

You can either opt for a homemade remedy or consider using other alternatives.
Below we have presented all of them so that you could check them out and decide which option seems to be more suitable for you and your particular case.

Try to Use DIY Solutions

First of all, we are going to tell you about a couple of do-it-yourself duct cleaning solutions. You can use any of them or try them all in order to try and get rid of the odor coming from your ducts!

The first thing you want to do in this case is to check your AC air filter. Of course, you should change the air filter of your air conditioner regularly, and we hope that you do so!

But just in case you don’t, you need to know that a dirty air filter can produce some very unpleasant smells and spread them around in your home while the conditioner is working.

How to Clean Your Air Ducts Yourself- Air Duct Cleaning + Maintenance for Beginners!How to Clean Your Air Ducts Yourself- Air Duct Cleaning + Maintenance for Beginners!

If you checked the air filter and it is clear that it is new and perfectly clean, here is another do-it-yourself solution for you to try.

Simply put a bit of regular baking soda in your air ducts! Yes, we mean exactly the baking soda that you usually use in your kitchen when cooking or baking!

And when we say that you need to put it in the air ducts, this is what we literally mean! All you need to do is to put a dish or the whole box of baking soda in your air duct and just let it sit there. This method works the same way that when you would place a box of baking soda in a bad-smelling fridge.

Try Out Some Tech Solutions

If you can manage the bad odor coming from your air conditioner with just baking soda, it’s great!

But it is also possible that you will not be able to eliminate the odor yourself. See, in this case, it happens because the problem is a dirty evaporator coil or a dirty condensate line.

Of course, even in this case, you can give it a try and put a little bit of white vinegar in your condensate line in order to prevent it from clogging and producing bad odors. However, it is one of those things that if you are not absolutely sure how to do it, it is safer to call in the professionals!

Try Out Some Tech Solutions
offeekai via VistaCreate

Of course, you will have to pay, but it is better to pay some cash and get your air conditioner odorless than spending twice more to repair it after you apply some “home remedies”.

So what we suggest is that you hire an HVAC technician. The professional will be able to professionally clean your evaporator coils and unclog your condensate line.

Stick to a Whole-Home Air Purifier

Of course, it is great if you manage to solve the problem, but it may so happen that your air conditioner is in a perfect working state, but you are still smelling something not much pleasant and nice around the home. In this case, you can opt for another layer of protection and apply a whole-home air purifier or a UV air purifier. Both of these purifiers will do a great job of removing small odor-causing particles.

Like this, now you know how you can remove bad odors from your air ducts.

As you can see now, there are different methods that can be helpful, both homemade and professional. Depending on how bad the smell that you sense, you can start with trying a DIY solution, and if it fails to cope with the issue, then you should definitely call for a professional!

Stick to a Whole-Home Air Purifier
Fahroni via VistaCreate

Why Hire a Professional Air Duct Cleaning Company?

It may seem to most of you that hiring a professional AC cleaner is a bit too much, especially in terms of money.

Why would you pay for a repair done by a professional AC cleaner, if you can try and fix the problem yourself? Maybe, all your air conditioner needs is a good old package of baking soda?

Well, it all depends on how long you are suffering from nasty smells coming from your air conditioner, and how unbearable the odor is. We want to say that you can always start from a simple homemade remedy like baking soda and see if it works. But isn’t it easier and quicker to hire a professional?

As you probably know, most HVAC vents are somewhat inaccessible for the common person. This is why it is always preferable to seek out a professional if you start smelling an odor in your air ducts.

Industry professionals have many more technical utensils and tools at their disposal that can help them tackle the source of lingering odors. In addition, the most common do-it-yourself options on how to freshen air ducts include methods that simply hide the odor.

But they most likely won’t eliminate it! Often, these are only temporary bandages to an odor problem that stems from musty air vents.

On the contrary, professional air vent cleaning companies offer multiple ways to clean your air conditioner vents.

However, before you hire them, it is still best to consult with a professional. Like this, you will be able to figure out which cleaning option or options are the best for your specific odor problem. And in addition, you will be able to calculate how much a repair will cost you.

Why Hire a Professional Air Duct Cleaning Company?
mproduction via VistaCreate

How Do Professional Air Duct Cleaners Cope With Nasty Odors?

When you hire a professional to come and fix your ducts for you, you need to know that they can use different methods. It will not help you that much, of course, but at least you will be able to understand better what a cleaner is doing at the moment.

So one of the options they typically use is handy for situations where suction is not enough. In this case, your air conditioner vents can’t be cleaned thoroughly. The method they would use in this case is called an air duct treatment.

This procedure uses various antimicrobial solutions and products to kill bacteria build-up (which is the source of the bad smell). These solutions work as an air duct deodorizer when they are sprayed in the vents.

Do NOT Get Your AIR DUCTS CLEANED Until You Watch This Video! Air Duct Cleaning In St Louis MODo NOT Get Your AIR DUCTS CLEANED Until You Watch This Video! Air Duct Cleaning In St Louis MO

Professional air duct cleaners usually use two or more EPA registered, HVAC-specific solutions to spray the whole ventilation system extremely thoroughly. And since they often use many products, it optimizes the ability for a 99% effective clean!

There is another standard air duct cleaning option which is essentially a massive vacuum. That vacuuming sucks out any debris and dirt that accumulates in the vents of your air conditioner. This is typically what most people think of when they realize that need their vents to be properly cleaned.

For this type of procedure, a professional cleaner uses an extremely powerful piece of equipment. That equipment is connected to the vents and then it is turned on. The higher the suction ability of the appliance, the more filth and dirt are removed from the vents by this technology.

Basically, it works like a giant vacuum cleaner! This procedure is one of the most common when people get their vents cleaned.

We hope that now you understand why you should consider hiring a professional to get your air ducts odorless rather than trying to cope with the problem on your own.

Common Signs Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning:

Of course, when a bad smell invades your entire home, it is more than a clear sign that your ducts need cleaning really badly!

However, we would like to remind you of some other nuances and symptoms that homeowners often skip or don’t pay attention to, and it often ends up with smelly ducts.

Common Signs Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning
pookpiik via VistaCreate

So if your home’s air vents smell musty, feel free to make use of the short yet very helpful checklist you can find below.

It will allow you to narrow down if the smell is coming from the vents themselves. In many cases, if all of these factors are present, the smell is originating from the air vents.

  • Consider the consistency (that is if the bad smell persists in multiple rooms).
  • How frequently it appears. There is a pattern between when the HVAC system is active and when the smell is the most prevalent.
  • Spot the location. The smell cannot be narrowed down to one room or location.
  • Check other possible sources. If any potential source of the smell, for example, carpets, trash cans, bathrooms, etc. have been cleaned and deodorized, but the smell still remains.

If you notice any of these signs (or several, or all of them!) in your home, it is more than enough for you to call for a professional duct cleaner to come and get the issue fixed and your ducts cleaned.

Like this, you have now become a bit more and better informed about air ducts cleaning in home conditions.

You found out how you could get your air ducts clean, and why it is best to call for professional help rather than wasting your time and trying to do that yourself. We provided you with some do-it-yourself solutions, as well as the modern tech alternative options.

Like that, you will be able to decide which option is best for you and which one of them, in your opinion, will work better than the others.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐Can bad odor from the ducts be caused by a dead rodent inside?

It is very unlikely, but you should still ask a professional to check the ventilation.

⭐Do I need to rinse the ducts after I clean them with vinegar?

Typically, rinsing is not needed. You can just wipe everything with a clean cloth soaked with cleat water to remove the vinegar sent.

⭐How often shall I clean air ducts?

Once a year is a rule of thumb. But if yours get dirty faster, then it’s ok to clean them more often.

Written by
Olivia shares all she knows about the hotels, houses, and home cleaning with Beezzly readers. And she knows a lot! 15 years of work experience as a Manager in a former Four Season Service gave Olivia an exceptional base of professional knowledge and practical experience.
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