This spring when I turned on my AC I had a strong "pond "odor coming from
the vents. In the week the AC has been on the odor has weakened but it is
still there. I went under the house and couldn't find any wet or broken
supply or return lines. I have a package unit that is also my gas furnace.
The unit is located outside.
I am thinking that there is a mold growing on the evaporator coils or lying
in the collection tray that is activated when it got wet. I didn't have the
odor during the winter when the heat was running. I believe if I spray the
evap coil and collection tray with a diluted bleach/water solution it will
cure the problem. I know it will smell like bleach for a while but I can
handle that better than "pond".
I'd like to hear what the group thinks about this plan and if there are any
other ideas out there. Is there something else I could spray on the coils,
like a Lysol product?
There are chemicals specifically formulated for the purpose of cleaning
coils. You can find them at Home Depot or Lowe's.
Unless you have clear access to the coil without having to disturb anything,
you'd be better off calling in a professional to do the job. I believe they
use stronger coil cleaning chemicals, and a professional can actually remove
the coil from the unit (if needed) to do a more thorough cleaning job.
The only thing "special" about these is a label and premium price.
Just use an ordinary butyl cleaner (409, Fantastik, Zep), which is all
these "special formulas" are.
Kind of like the high-priced "seam cement" for wallpaper, which is just
white (PVA) glue. Or the "special" cleaners sold for pressure washers.
I'm well aware that similar products get repackaged, labeled and a premium
price tacked on. Anhydrous lanolin is one product that comes to mind.
Musical instrument companies repackage and label it as a lubricant for brass
instrument tuning slides. The per-unit cost then becomes about 50 times the
cost of the basic stuff you can buy in a 1 lb. jar at any pharmacy. Same
stuff...different package..higher price.
However, I didn't believe you were correct regarding coil cleaning
chemicals, so being the curious type, I posed a question regarding the
composition of these chemicals on alt.hvac. According to one response I've
received so far, they are not the same as Fantastik, 409, etc.
LOL...yea...and it can prove you wrong as hell....
I have a cleaner that is used on coils, that isnt sold to unlicenced
persons, and will eat right into a coil after about 5 minutes if its used
wrong..used right, it looks like the coils about to catch fire...its steam
of course, but sir, you are dead wrong.
Of course, the untrained are always saying that they are the same....
No doubt. I'm sure the customer stands in slack-jawed wonder at this
professional procedure. Do you carry photos of dust mites to sell duct
Read the OP, about some consumer stuff sold at Home Depot. Not the
Licensed Person brand cleaner.
But I am not aware of any cleaning chemicals that require any license,
much less an HVAC (restraint-of-)trade license, so please cite one by
its IUPAC name or CAS number. And be sure to tell us what governmental
authority is enforcing non-sales of this chemical to us unlicensed
folk, like the DoJ and lysergic acid.
I suspect you confuse marketing with chemistry, like the "professional"
shampoos that are only sold to "licensed cosmetologists".
I repeat, butyl cleaner and agitation are all you ordinarily need to
clean an evaporator coil.
Richard..if you had paid attention over the years, you would know that every
time that someone asks about duct cleaning, I do not advocate it.
99% of the time, its a scam.
Also, if you knew more about the systems, in various OTHER parts of the
country, and not just yours, you would realize that some coils cant be
cleaned, but have to be replaced.
Also, you would know that depending on the coil condition, if its not a
foaming acid type, you will do nothing but push the crap into the coil, not
removing it, making the situation worse.
But, you have seen and be taught this right?
Normally, the customer is actually pretty damn happy when the system gets
back to working right.
That crap they sell as coil cleaner at Home Depot isnt even close.
PT Barnum had a saying....and HD is riding it to the bank...
We use one..its a canned spray, and unless you know what you are up against,
I have pulled more than one newbie trainee outside to wake back up..that
stuff at HD...lol..ok..its water compared to it.
The STate of NC. Simple enough. You walk into a supply house here, and ask
for the pretty pink cleaner...or the stuff that looks like cat piss, and
before they sell it to you, if they dont know you, they want to see your
state licence...its that simple. The states own law, that states that non
licenced persons can not work, repair, or sell HVAC products of any sort is
enough. The ONLY thing that the state allows a non licenced person to do,
and we, as licenced contractors are working to change that, is MINOR repairs
on non refrigerant type heating systems, that do not use a boiler, or
refrigerant to heat the home.
They might sell you the green spray and walk away stuff...thats good on a
fairly new system....since its not going to munch right into the copper...
Not really....as I actually work in the trade...
Agitation...thats good...you mean like a foam that lifts and pushes the crap
up and out, or do you suggest a magic brush that can get into the really
deep coils...some of these are over 3 inches thick...with 12 to 16 rows of
fins per inch...
I was not trying actually to fight with you, but was trying to let you know
that you are wrong, and while you can consider yourself correct, the facts
are that what you are saying, is wrong.
Real simple Richard...
first, you ignore the other part of the post...then, you want to make a
Ok...if you know the right people, there isnt one. IF those people are
following the letter of the law, you cant buy a damn thing to service AC
UNLESS you have a nice little licence issued by the State...I do..you
dont...and yes, I know you dont since your name isnt in the states database.
Deal with it...this isnt Florida.
Oh..lookie there..on the back of the bottle of cleaner here..it states: Not
for sale to untrained, or unlicenced persons.
Your real problem is why there is water sticking around to cause the mold.
The bleach will not hurt the coil once or twice. You need to find out why
the pan is ponding and not draining. A cleaning will help the short run not
the long run
SQlit.....You are right about the pan not draining well. Water flows out
when it reaches a certain level. I put a small level in the pan and it is
slightly tilted away from the drain hole. I tried a couple of things. I
couldn't find a way to raise the pan. I just can't/don't know how to get to
it. I tried to wedge the back corner of the unit up but once again it must
be fastened to the raised deck it is on and no go.
I was thinking of filling the back and side of the pan with sand or small
pebbles to displace the water. I also thought about a small amount of
morter mix or pieces of wood to keep the water near the center and away from
the back edge.
Is this something a pro could fix? Any ideas out there?
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