Hotel, Motel and Resort Air Conditioning – Are You Getting More than You Paid For?

Have you ever checked into a Hotel, Motel or Resort room and found when the air conditioning was turned on that you were overwhelmed by a stale musty odour. You would have to agree it is extremely unpleasant and not what you paid for. Stale musty air is a pretty good indicator that the correct air conditioning maintenance has not been carried out to address the Indoor Air Quality of the room. Unfortunately the large majority of Hotel, Motel and Resort room air conditioners do not get the professional sanitation maintenance they require.

The air conditioning system I am referring to is the common hi wall split system air conditioner similar to the ones found in over 70% of Australian homes. This piece of equipment is normally operated between 8 and 24 hours a day 300-365 days a year, the second most utilised piece of equipment in a Hotel, Motel or Resort Room only topped by the refrigerator and closely followed by the bed.

Hotel and motel fridges are cleaned almost daily and bed linen is changed with every new guest. Unfortunately it is from our many years experience and dealing with Australian Hotels, Motels and Resorts is that the standard room air conditioner that basically continually filters the room air which is so important to the indoor air quality and guest comfort is grossly neglected to the detriment of their guests.

Former hotel manager Chris Johnston revealed to Bustle that the air conditioning unit is one thing you might want to avoid using when you’re staying at a hotel. He said: “One often overlooked source of… germs is the HVAC unit in the room. “If hotel staff fail to clean the filters (or at least clean the top visible portion), simply turning on the unit can cause these particles to fill your room and your lungs.” The Sun

The reality is hotel and motel air conditioners usually only get some kind of attention after a guest reports a fault or breakdown. Once this fault is reported the goal of the attending technician is to get it back online ASAP. Management need this to happen so discounts, room transfers or refund do not have to be discussed with their guests especially at peak periods. Repairs are quickly carried out to get the air handling equipment back in service and before the technician departs the indoor unit might be lucky to get filters cleaned depending on their workload.

The source of the musty odours is usually deep inside the indoor evaporator coils, scroll fan and condensate pans where only a trained technician can reach. Evaporator coils harbour dust, pollen, fungus, mould and bacteria, add some water, humidity and this unwanted cocktail is the perfect breeding ground for many micro organisms. Invariably dirty air conditioning is the largest indoor contributor of itchy eyes, throat irritations, runny nose and sneezing.

If this was not enough to get you sleeping in a tent then consider the issues that guests with respiratory disease problems such as asthma are faced with when occupying these contaminated rooms. My advice to hotel guests who experience stale musty odours coming from your room air conditioning or physically see mould contamination on the indoor evaporator contact reception immediately and let them know it requires urgent attention and asked to be moved if you need to use it.

Let’s clarify the differences between air conditioning maintenance and air conditioning cleaning and sanitising maintenance. Air conditioning maintenance usually covers the mechanical operation of an air conditioner and sometimes includes coil flushing, filter cleaning. The majority of refrigeration mechanics are equipped to install and repair air conditioners. Refrigeration mechanics do not usually carry the specialised equipment and cleaning agents to effectively clean and sanitise an air conditioner.

It is time that hotel, motel and resort management and owners understood the differences between having air conditioning maintained and having their air conditioning cleaned and sanitised. If you are the owner or manager of a Hotel, Motel or Resort and are currently believe you are paying for this service but still have unsatisfied guests then you need to talk with your air conditioning maintenance company. You might discover that your agreement only covers the basic service requirements and that they do not have the specialised equipment or products to carry out correct cleaning and sanitising on your air conditioners.

Sanitair™ are a specialised air conditioning cleaning service provider. Our technicians are qualified HVAC Hygienists and focus on the specialised cleaning and sanitising of air conditioners to guarantee clean healthy air for guests which improves overall guest satisfaction.

If you would like to discuss any concerns you might have in regards to your air conditioning or to discuss supplementary cleaning and sanitising services with Sanitair™ 1800 130 168 or