Why Does My RV Air Conditioner Smell Musty? (How To Remove)

It may or may not be mold or mildew. Sometimes different odors all smell the same. The go-to culprit is usually mold or mildew but that is not always the case. It could be a normal odor coming from your evaporator coils.

Spraying a little Lysol into the intake portion of your AC unit is one way to get rid of that nasty musty odor. It is a simple solution to a simple problem. If that doesn’t do the trick, there are other solutions that will work.

To learn more about this problem just continue to read our article. It explores the issue so you have the solutions that should work for you. Take a few minutes to continue reading and get those solution suggestions that may keep your RV smelling nice.

Why Does My RV Air Conditioner Smell Musty?


There can be several reasons why your RV’s AC unit smells musty. If it has a drain pan, it may be full. Or if you do not, it could be that old water removed from the air has sat there for too long.

Or your filters may be clogged or dirty. This situation will certainly produce unwanted odors including musty ones. To add to that, if you camp in a very humid region of the country, the excess moisture may still be in your AC vents.

Finally, there may be a problem with your condenser coils. In most cases, they are just dirty and need a good cleaning to get them back to normal. It is said that the big box stores carry evaporator cleaner and that may be all that you need to get those coils back to smelling right.

The other problems also need a good cleaning and a chance to dry out. It is easy to forget about cleaning the AC unit because it is up and out of the way. But it should be put on your monthly cleaning schedule.

How To Remove Musty Smell From RV Air Conditioner


One option would be to mask the odor by spraying some disinfectant into the AC intake. This may work temporarily or for the long term. Lysol was suggested but you can use just about any disinfectant spray that covers odors. Just do not use bleach or similar products as they are corrosive to AC parts.

The next step would be to pull the filters out and clean them up. Water would get trapped in the dirt and clog which would then create that musty odor. Sometimes cleaning filters more than once or twice a year is in order depending on where you camp or travel.

Next, you can buy some evaporator cleaner and let that chemical compound do all the work for you. Just read the instructions on the can to use this cleaner correctly

You can also clean your vents by reaching in as far as you can or are allowed to reach and make sure no excess moisture is adding to your atmosphere woes. Finally, you can hire an AC technician to clean all the parts and vents for you.

Not everyone that owns an RV is up to the task of cleaning in these tight spaces.

Can The Musty Smell From AC Make You Sick?


This would depend a lot on the source of the musty smell. One of the sources that can possibly make you sick would be if the musty smell came from mold or mildew.

But the level of sickness you experience may be minor. Some mold varieties give off what are called mycotoxins and these little bacteria can be spread through the flowing air from the AC unit. If you breathe these in, you may feel some of the following problems:

- Headaches

- Dizziness

- Fatigue

- Nausea

- Skin rash

- Irritation of the eyes, nose & throat

- Triggered allergies

The other sources may not make you sick unless you really can’t stand that musty odor. What may make you sick is that the air conditioner is circulating the air in your room and if there are pollutants in the room you are not aware of, they get stirred up.

The circulating air then brings those pollutants to your nose and mouth and they can get into your respiratory system. Once there, they can cause you to get sick.

Then if you do not clean your AC unit regularly, the mold and bacteria that grow inside the system, can get out into the air and cause health problems.

Avoiding The Musty Smell From RV Air Conditioner


The first step would be to give your AC unit a good spring cleaning. But not just in the Spring. This is something that should be done on a regular basis as that musty smell may contain pollutants or bacteria that are harmful to you and your family.

To do the Spring cleaning, you would have to clean the filters, the vents, the condenser, and the evaporator. It is not a tough job, just one that takes a little time.

Even if your RV has sat through the winter, it is always a good idea to make sure that the AC unit is clean before you leave on your next vacation. You just do not know what has made a home of those ducts, and AC parts.

Then use an evaporator cleaner on a regular basis. This will get to those parts you may not be able to reach. Having good air in your RV is all about keeping it clean.

Some Final Words

The musty odor may be easily taken care of but not by hanging up an air freshener. That smell tells you that there is something dirty or too moist in the system that needs your immediate attention.

Leave a Comment: